Some people love sky-diving or bungee jumping for getting their blood pumping and giving them a rush. For others, riding roller coasters or running a marathon makes them feel alive.
For me, it’s the feeling I get just before I give a talk that makes my heart beat faster. Yes, public speaking is my adrenalin sport.
Although I have been speaking in front of small and large groups of people for many years, I still get nervous. When I know it’s a tough crowd, or if I spot a hero of mine in the audience, those things add to the pressure.
Just as actors say they wouldn’t be at peak performance if they weren’t nervous, I have experienced the focusing effect that butterflies in the stomach have on me.
If you’re feeling anxious before a presentation, don’t fight it. Embrace the nerves. You know your subject inside out. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t have been asked to present.
Imagine you’re at the top of a roller coaster, about to get the thrill of swooping down the steepest part. Now think about that exhilarated feeling at the end of the ride. If you think about public speaking in these terms, it seems exciting rather than terrifying.
You’ll find when you get into your presentation, it begins to feel easier and you get into your flow. If you rehearse your whole presentation, with particular focus on the first and last few minutes, it will help you to feel in control throughout.
There was a generation of women for whom the 1980s could be seen as a regretful decade. Many wholeheartedly embraced the pointed stiletto trend of the time, and ended up with deformed feet and bunions.
You might be surprised to learn that in my mission to promote comfortable AND beautiful footwear, I don’t recommend avoiding pointed footwear completely.
Younger shoe-lovers can learn some lessons from our mothers’ generation.
My top tips for wearing shoes with pointed toes
1. Alternate round and pointed-toed footwear from one day to the next. One of the problems with those 80s stilettos was that ladies wore them to work day in, day out.
2. Wear flat points to decrease the pressure on your toes. If you wear heeled points, give your feet a couple of days to recover in more spacious toe-shapes.
3. Buy shoes with leather uppers and linings, as these will stand the best chance of giving a little to form around your feet. Fabric and synthetic materials don’t stretch.
4. Practice yoga or pilates. Both of these disciplines help you to stretch your toes back out.
5. Visit a chiropodist if you have any foot concerns. I know it’s not a sexy thing to spend your money on, but uncared-for feet aren’t pretty either.
With leather uppers and linings, these Office pumps with their small platform are flat without losing you too much height.
The silver works well for day-to-evening, white is great for a sporty but smart weekend look, and many of you can get away with the black for work.
I recently heard about a shoe brand called Betsy. After I recovered from their theft of one of my top 10 names for future daughters, I realised how cute and wearable their sandals are.
There’s nothing like a white sole to scream “summer”, and give a sporty casual edge. The lightweight wedges are easy on the legs and back, and great for warm weather sightseeing.
Analpa, who own Betsy, J.Elisabeth, and Keddo brands, kindly sent me this pair of cross-strap beauties. Even against my pale, pasty Spring feet, this rich warm tan colour is very flattering.
The other colours in this style are also easy-to-wear too. The mint will suit darker skin-tones, and look fabulous with navy and white.
Try the yellow with denim of any shade, or make it pop with purple.
I love the simplicity of this ankle strap sandal. The wider straps make the perfect platform for colour blocking. Have some fun with one of these delightful options. I’m coveting the bone/blue combination for when my feet have seen the sun.
If you don’t fancy a wedge, or are lucky enough not to need the extra height, these T-bar flats are very much on-trend. The flash of metallic adds a little glamour to an easy-going style.
Are you a Betsy convert? Let me know in the comments, or tweet me @ShoeConsultant.
Ever powerless to resist the magnetic pull of a shoe-shop, I popped into the Fleet Street branch of Jones Bootmaker.
In my constant quest to promote comfortable and beautiful shoes, I was impressed by their Twenty Four Seven range. The sales assistant told me that the styles in this range have memory foam in the insock for extra comfort. They certainly felt nicely cushioned.
An easy cotton 4-pack of S.Oliver socks, for great absorption.
A Nylon 2-pack from Elle, for when you want conceal something tempting under your shoes.
Sock Snob have recognised the need for invisible socks for all skin tones. This Nylon 3-pack is a bargain.
If nude is too dull and you want something cuter, you need this Teddy T's cotton mix 3-pack.
This Nylon 2-pack from ASOS is light-toned and transparent, for ultimate invisibility.
It’s not sexy to talk about, but shoes sometimes smell.
The bare-foot look can be really flattering when you’re wearing loafers, ballet pumps, and your beloved lace-ups. Unfortunately, the odour-producing bacteria from your foot perspiration can easily transfer to the linings of your favourite pair, and linger.
My top tip for avoiding this, is to wear footsies, footies, invisible socks, shoe-liners… (they go by many names).
Pick one of my selection of low-cut options from the slide-show, and no-one will know your secret.
Grey is THE new neutral. These boots are sleek, with a wearable height of wedge (10cm). Zip on, and dash out of the door.
The quirky gibson
For those of us who don't want to lose the sheer comfort that flats offer, these stand-out lace-ups are the answer. Feminised with an asymmetric embroidered toe-cap, contrast piping and laces.
The vampy wedge
In a rich pinky red "marsala" hue, these pointed courts are powerful and sexy. The embroidered wedge gives a finely crafted look.
The calf boot
Ahhh that grey, that grey! Delicious with skinny jeans, and a top in the red or green of the heel embroidery.
I like to think that women in the Western world get on and make things happen, rather than hanging around longing for things. Alright, I’ll admit we all have dreams and desires.
Bringing the emotion back into footwear by creating beautiful, wearable, comfortable styles is Iutta.
The Romanian accessories brand rather romantically “echoes feelings of longing”, by using traditional folkloric embroidery patterns. These intricate motifs reflect the diversity of the many regions of that country.
The leathers used are rich and soft, and all styles feature leather linings: a must for all-day comfort.
If you want to subtly tell a story with your shoe choice, look no further.