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Shoes, Sponsored Posts

These Sandals Give You Wings

I’ve had my eye on a pair of Ancient Greek Sandals for a couple of years. It took me a long time to succumb to the whole gladiator sandal fad in the mid to late 2000s, but when I finally did buy a pair I wore them to death and I think they’re definitely due a comeback. They’re comfy, practical, and look great with all the boho maxi dresses and fringed shorts that are filling the rails for Summer. The trick is to pick a good leather pair that’ll wear well (and be less likely to rub). These babies definitely tick all the boxes. Plus, what’s not to love about a pair of sandals with wings? They may be a bit much for some, but the good news is there are plenty of other options that are a little more understated.


They’re created by designers Christina Martini and Nikolas Minoglou. The former was born and raised in Greece, has worked at Balenciaga and Louis Vuitton and studied at Cordwainers College (part of my alma mater, the London College of Fashion). The latter was raised in London, but moved to Athens to run his family’s business (shoemakers, obviously).

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With a pedigree like that, you can expect the very best craftsmanship, which is why a pair of Ancient Greek Sandals will set you back upwards of £100. But these are built to last. Celeb fans include Beyonce, Kate Hudson, Zoe Saldana, Jessica Alba and Candice Swanepoel, so if you do invest in a pair of these, you’ll be in good company. Head over to the Ancient Greek Sandals page on Avenue 32 to buy. I’ve got my eye on the black and gold Nephele sandals for Summer, though the waterproof version, in an array of bright coloured rubbers, come a close second. So fun!

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Disclosure: In association with Avenue 32

Shoes, Tried & Tested

Tried & Tested: Clarks ‘Deva’ summer sandals


I know that Clarks has a bit of a frumpy reputation amongst fashion fans, with their shoes often sacrificing style for comfort. But I’ve always had a bit of a love affair with the brand, particularly their summer sandals. In 2006 I fell so in love with a pair of flat sandals with sequin covered twisted ribbon uppers called ‘Saskia’ that I ended up owning them in three different colours (they were a rip-off of a Chloe sandal I could only dream of). Last year, I bought a pair of 70s style platform sandals with a perforated leather upper that one colleague described as “gross” but I loved to pieces. You just can’t beat the comfort of a pair of Clarks shoes – every pair I’ve ever had have been glorious to wear, with no rubbing, chafing or cutting into the skin. I know I can rely on my Clarks’ to last forever and never cause blisters, and if you know where to look, you can find some really modern styles.


This year, I fell for the contrasting colour of the ‘Deva’ sandals in pink and fuchsia. Pink and orange / pink and red is such a cool combination – unexpected but it always works (don’t believe me? Check out Amy’s pinterest board of proof). I got these sandals before my holiday, and frequent visitors might recognise them from my leopard print dress post. Obviously I’m not the only one who fell for their charms, as these babies were out of stock for ages, but it looks like they’ve just restocked in both regular and wide fit (and half sizes)! They also come in various other colours (including a cool silver trimmed white).

Clarks Deva pink and orange sandals

I wore these sandals loads on holiday and plenty of times since I’ve returned, and they are insanely comfy. I’m a bit of a shoe loser in that I adore my heels but I can’t really wear them all day, but these are the exception. They have Clarks’ softwear cushioning in the sole, and even though the heel isn’t particularly high, you definitely benefit from that added softness. They’re also quite flexible and bendy so they’re easy to pack! You’d be surprised how much the pink and orange combo goes with – I have a lot of printed / floral dresses and most had some element of pink or orange in the print. I’ve actually found myself reached for these sandals as often as I do my black ones. That said, there is one outfit in particular that these babies are made for, and that’s my ASOS deckchair striped skirt which I will be whipping out plenty of times this Summer!

Disclosure: The shoes were a gift from Clarks.

Gemma Recommends, Uncategorized

Three designer inspired items I’m crushing on…

I always feel a bit naughty buying cheaper high street versions of designer clothes, but the truth is I’m never going to shell out £500 for a jumper that’s a one-season wonder, or blow £500 on shoes that I’ll only wear twice. If I had the disposable income to buy designer clothes all the time, maybe I would (I suspect I’d still love trawling the rails of Topshop, though). But right now, my designer purchases tend to be the things I know won’t date so quickly – handbags, coats, retro style dresses and so on. When it comes to trends and seasonal styles, I have to budget, which means fast fashion. I think so long as the items are designer inspired, not fakes being sold as if they’re the real thing, they only strengthen the brand they’re emulating by drawing more attention to the specific look or style. Besides, a lot of the designer pieces don’t hang around for long, and I’m sure Victoria Beckham isn’t sweating the fact a few cut-price retailers are selling low cost alternatives to her sold out dresses.

So on that note, here are three designer-inspired looks I’ll be sporting this season…

The Primark ‘Pow’ comic book jumper

You know when you see something in a shop, carry it around for a while, then put it down thinking ‘no, I don’t need this’, only to find yourself thinking about it for days afterwards, wishing you’d just gone ahead and bought it? That happened with me and this jumper. I didn’t buy it because I’d already bought two slouchy jumpers for Autumn and thought three was overkill. But when I saw it at The LOOK Show last weekend (pictured), I knew I’d made a mistake. I’m hoping my new ‘local’ store (the huge new Oxford Street East branch, which is 3 mins from my office) will still have it in stock so I can pop it on and pretend I’m wearing the 3.1 Phillip Lim it’s based on. This is going to become my weekend wardrobe – I’m getting more and more lazy and casual as time goes by.

Buy it: Pow! Jumper £14 at Primark Stores

Boohoo’s Cat Face Wedges

I already have the flat version of these, and I’ve just ordered the ridiculously cheap and stupidly high £15 wedges as well. Though I wish I could afford to fork out the £500 the Charlotte Olympia real deal would cost me, I just can’t, so I’m forced to go for the cheap option. The flat shoes get comments wherever I go in them. I recently wore them to go on holiday and even the tour group of pensioners on my flight asked me about them. So for £15, I thought I’d give their sister shoes a go. I’ve never been scared of things that are twee and a bit childish, and these really are big offenders in those stakes, but I think they add a sense of humour to a more grown-up outfit. Provided I can walk in them, I’ll be teaming the wedges with pencil skirts and blouses to avoid looking too ‘sexy secretary’, and with skinny jeans for the longest legs ever!

Buy it: Suky Cat Face Suedette Wedges £15 at Boohoo

Everyone’s collar-detail bodycon dresses

Where Victoria Beckham goes, the high street inevitably follows, which means this Autumn / Winter there are loads of fitted dresses with cuffed sleeves and high collars. I love Internacionale’s burgundy dress with black stripe detail, and obviously so does everyone else as the £19.99 bargain is sold out at the moment in everything but the smallest sizes. Loads of brands have versions of the drop-cuff dress in blue and khaki. Goddiva offers the best price – £28 for both colours. If you’re looking for larger sizes, the Contrast Collar & Cuff shift dress from M&S goes up to a size 22. My only concern is how this style will work with bigger boobs, as the high collar and fitted shape might end up giving the shelf-boob effect. I will be investigating this and doing some trying on!

Clothing, Dresses, Sale shopping, Shoes

Window shopping: Top Summer sale fashion finds!

It’s Summer sales time, and this year’s bad weather means there are even more items to choose from as people are a bit cautious of spending too much on flippy Summer dresses and strappy sandals when most days are still spend in tights and coats! It’s a great time to stock up – particularly if you have a Summer holiday coming – so I’ve picked some of my favourite sale finds to help you along. There are loads of lovely shoes and some fabulous Summer frocks, and nothing on this page costs more than £35 (except one pair of fabulous Carvela shoes I couldn’t resist including). Personally, I’ve got my eye on a pair of fabulous wedges that’ll give height with a bit of added comfort, and a really nice bright 50s dress to wear for my birthday in August. What’s new, eh?!

Gorgeous Sale Dresses

Orange shadow butterfly dress was £40 now £20 Dorothy Perkins
Multi green print contrast prom dress was £75 now £35
Navy fine pleat dress was £50 now £15 Lovedrobe at Style369
Multi-layer dress with beading was £40 now £16 TFNC at ASOS (I have this in blue. The M-L would easily fit up to a size 18)
Stripe frill hem dress was £16 now £10 Peacocks

Fabulous Sale Shoes:

Berry Laser-cut shoe boots was £35 now £10 Style369
Black floral platform shoes with ankle strap was £40 now £17 Dorothy Perkins
Powertrip suede toe perspex heel court shoe was £60 now £24 ASOS
Cleo jewel brooch cherrypie sandals was £60 now £34.99 Schuh
Asses black suede heels with coloured platforms was £140 now £59 Carvela at Kurt Geiger
White woven flat sandals was £30 now £10 River Island
Green clog-style sandals with wood effect heel was £29.99 now £9.99 H&M
Fever metallic gladiator flat sandal was £40 now £20 Miss Selfridge
Rainbow flat sandals with twisted vamp was £37.50 now £15 Poetic Licence at Let’s Buy Shoes
Bow sling-back polka dot wedge was £29.50 now £25 Evans
Strappy wedge was £19.99 now £9 New Look
Menna bow sandals was £80 now £40 PPQ for Office

Shoeper Challenge

A trio of New look shoe saves (finally!)

You’d be forgiven for thinking I’d given up on Shoeperwoman’s Shoeper Challenge, as it’s been ages since I’ve snapped myself wearing a pair of shoes from my collection and officially ‘saved’ them from being ditched when the challenge ends next Feb. But I am planning on sticking to my guns, I’m just rubbish at remembering to take photos when there’s any kind of natural light (you’ll see from the below pics how much my camera hates the soft orange light in my flat – fuzziness ahoy).

But I’m keen to get back on track and work my way through my hundred or so pairs of shoes as quickly as I can, starting with three pairs from New Look. Two pairs of tattly old Primark ballet flats have already been binned, which gave me the opportunity to snap up a new pair of comfy sandals recently, which coincidentally, are my first save of this post. They’re a kind of orange/tan colour, and work much better in warm weather than clunky black shoes.

Pearl Lowe for Peacocks dress, New Look shoes 

I’ve also whipped out a pair of low heeled black patent peep-toes with cut-out strapping across the front when the temperature dropped today. I love this height of heel for day and New Look do it really well. The dress, with its parrot print, was an amazing find in the Oasis sale for only £10.

Oasis dress, New Look shoes, Primark headband 

And finally, I’m afraid this is a bit of a sneaky outfit recreation, because I didn’t get a solo photo on the day. This is what I wore to the wedding I recently went to in Australia. The black tights were a must, I’m afraid. It was pouring with rain, freezing cold and just not the right day for the 7 denier nude ones I’d optimistically packed…

Alannah Hill dress, New Look shoes, Accessorize belt, Primark hairband


I got the dress while I was in Melbourne from an outlet store called Clear It on Brunswick street in Fitzroy. The place was floor to ceiling Alannah Hill. Heaven! If you’re ever in Melbourne, definitely hunt it down for some amazing bargains. This baby (which is 100% silk and originally retailed at over $400 worked out at about £60 and I got another frock for £30!

Shoes, Tried & Tested

Tried & Tested: wide fit shoes


Regular shoes usually fit me fine around the foot, but I often struggle to fasten ankle straps because of my chunky ankles and high arches. And boots? Forget it. They all seem to be cut for women with insanely tiny ankles and calves. So I’m always impressed to see more retailers branching out into wider fit shoes and boots. are the latest to take the plunge, and they carry a decent selection of wide fit shoes to compliment their size 16+ So Fabulous! range. I was lucky enough to be sent a pair to try recently…

The shoes are Very’s ‘Lisa’ style, a classic black satin peep-toe with some stitched detail around the front. According to the blurb, they’re designed with comfort in mind, which explains why the heel is a moderate 3.5 inches and fairly substantial. They come in an EEE fit which classifies as ‘extra wide’, but they’re actually not as wide as I was expecting.

One of my feet is a half size larger than the other (yep, I’m a freak, but I bet you are too!) and I often have to squeeze it into something that’s technically a bit small, but the wider fit of these shoes gave that bigger foot more room for manouvre, which was an unexpected bonus. However, it also meant my feet weren’t so well supported, and the other shoe felt a bit loose – with tights on the shoe kept slipping off my feet because they weren’t grabbing around the foot enough. Without tights on they were great. I imagine they’d be even better in Summer when my feet are a bit swollen with the heat, that’s when I often find regular shoes are a bit pinchy and uncomfortable. I would probably be better off with a slightly less generous fit, however.

If you struggle to find wide-fit shoes that aren’t too old-fashioned and designed purely with practicality in mind, the So Fabulous range offers up some good options. As far as ‘Lisa’ goes, the heel is a bit too low for my liking, given that the satin makes them quite a formal style, and I have a tendency to go for far more ostentatious designs. But as a basic, classic shoe to stash away for the right occasion, it’s a safe bet.

Trinity, a real fashion-led platform Mary-Jane may be a better option if you want something more adventurous, while I think the red patent ruffled ‘Heather’ is a retro winner.

All the shoes and boots in the range come in sizes 4 – 9 in EEE fit.

disclosure: these shoes were a gift from Very. However, the review is honest and I was not paid to publish it.

Shoes, Tried & Tested

Fitflops tried & tested: The workout while you walk


I am a sucker for a new gadget, gizmo or wonder product. But when I heard about Fitflops, my first thought was ‘what a load of rubbish’. A flip flop that tones your legs? Ha! But then, as usual, I got sucked in by the marketing, the good press, the celeb fans and the great reviews. What interested me most, besides the supposed toning / cellulite busting qualities of these new-wave flipflops, was the fact they were supposedly so comfortable…

I’ll admit it, the rumours were true. While I don’t agree with the many people who say they’re comfy from the moment you put them on (like all flip-flops they take a certain amount of wearing in around the big toe) wearing these babies does feel like walking on air. They’re super-light, soft and shock-absorbent, and are so much nicer than flat, hard soled rivals. I’m a big Havaianas fan and thought they were squishy and soft – these are a hundred times better. I’d go as far as to say they’re the comfiest shoes I’ve ever worn.

On the downside, that well-designed, comfortable sole does mean a clunkier shoe in general. The footbed is quite wide and chunky, which is great news for Big Girls with wide feet, but it can limit what you wear them with. I’m quite an overdressed person by nature and these don’t go very well with my floaty dresses. However, pick the right colour (I went for gold Walkstar III’s) and you widen your options. There’s even a sequinned option, but it does tend to sell out as quick as it’s restocked!

Now onto the bit you really care about. This alleged ‘workout while you walk‘. Well, let’s make one thing clear straight away – fitflops won’t make you thin. There are no magical fixes for that as well all know! However, you do feel the burn in your calves when you first begin to wear these for long periods of time. The sole is designed for a better push-off on the toe, more energy output through the middle and more shock absorbency on the heel, which basically makes you work just a tiny bit harder as you’re walking. I notice it most on stairs, but it’s not an uncomfortable exertion, just a slight difference that you get used to very quickly.

Overall, I think these are definitely worth the money if only for the comfort. The toning action is a plus that will make a small difference over a long period of time, especially to your calves, but don’t expect miracles.

Fitflops range from £35.24 to £68.86 at Rubber Sole (including winter versions – boots and clogs) or £36 to £55 at Shudoo.