Category Archives: Sophisticated Salons

A description of the Salon including times, dates and provocation papers

The Final Salon

After a few days one finally feels able to reflect on the final salon that took place last week. Just shy of 50 fabulous ladies convened to celebrate the eight decades of Dilys Price; one amazingly inspirational woman. Not only did Dilys look absolutely fantastic she was an engaging guest to interview. When one is at the centre of organising events one tends to be a little distracted by the mechanics and it can be difficult to assess how it’s going. One’s tendency to organise and prepare things into a cocked hat doesn’t exactly lay the ground for a relaxing evening. Ironically the easier the evening flows, the more effortlessly it seems to flow the more detailed planning that underpins it is! No prizes for guessing the Spinster is a trained strategic planner!

Sophisticat’s who attended the Salon have been kind enough to send me messages about how much they enjoyed the evening; the judgement of Dilys being the most important of course. On Saturday a HUGE bouquet arrived with a note saying the Salon had been one of the loveliest evenings of her life; this is more than good enough for me! It was a privilege to be able to honour a woman who has such humility, grace and genuine goodness embedded in every cell of her being. Dilys you are simply the best! One of the most delicious little packages one has ever had the pleasure of unpacking – OK perhaps not the best selection of words but the candour with which Dilys has told me about her life has been illuminating in so many ways. Some of the details will remain a deux d’accord but safe to say Dilys has indeed lived life to the full!

One toyed with the idea of entitling this post ‘an embarrassment of flowers’ but thought better of it for fear of offending.  In addition to the flowers given to Dilys one found oneself the recipient of rather a lot of the same oneself; in fact one received more flowers than Dilys herself with some coming from the lady herself! One is not terribly good at being on the receiving end of kindness from others curious behaviour one could say; but ones natural default position as a facilitator oiling the wheels discretely in the background is one that one has grown used to and comfortable with.

Dilys quite rightly put one in ones place firmly asking one to shut up and listen! One is respectful of such female tour de force and of course was powerless to do anything other than comply! Reflecting the humility and decorum with which Dilys conducts herself one graciously (albeit with a degree of embarrassment) accepted her very kind words. And then Gilly Adams followed suit with a fantastic bouquet of sunflowers too! One felt very very spoilt by the end of the evening which was somewhat overwhelming but wonderful at the same time as it meant a lot to be honoured by and in the presence of so many wonderful women.

A fine accolade and fitting conclusion to two years of Salons. With ones ‘posh finishing school’ inflected accent the irony of historic hostesses being drawn from French Aristocracy is not lost on one! More recently the magnificent Louise Bourgeois hosted weekly salons in her home in New York where artists across generations were drawn to receive her wisdom. At the end of the conversation with Dilys one asked her for her advice to the gathered audience; what should we do in terms of our lives. Follow your passion was her response in a nutshell and one trusts we shall all respond appropriately wreaking creative havock on an unsuspecting world! Go Gals the Spinster awaits the ripples on a society begging to hear voices of sanity with answers to a myriad of questions both spoken and unspoken! Who needs a public school Oxbridge education? If you’ve got one then plough those ready receptive furrows shamelessly you have no excuse not too!

Back in 2010 when ones victorious endeavour was merely a twinkle of an idea the ethos behind the salons was to provide an opportunity to indulge our curiosity in the way we did as children. Before we became adult women expected to readily have answers to every question posed. An early evening window where we got together as ourselves; not as a mother, a wife, a partner, a daughter or anybody with a designated ‘role’. One wanted to create a welcoming warm pause in a busy day; the scale of the interaction was all important hence the seating on tables of no more than 8. Each table was hosted by a woman one trusted charged with making her charges feel relaxed and included whether they wanted to talk or just listen.

Dilys reflected on her involvement in the Salons saying she wasn’t naturally someone who joined in; that she’d been to womens business events many times but never felt as comfortable   as she had at the victorious endeavour. One was humbled by Dilys assessment as it was precisely what one had set out to achieve. Indeed the planning and preparation has been all important; ones way of giving every individual a ‘cwtch’, a gentle squeeze around the shoulders signifying the importance of each woman as an individual. The hosts who went along with ones crazy little plan have consistently made all the difference; whilst one does seemingly have an inexhaustible supply of love to share (with those one considers worthy of receiving it – one isn’t universally accepting although generally one default position is to expect people are genuine with a element of goodness in them – not advice that has always served me well I confess). This final salon was a joy to share with so many wonderful ladies who have each enriched ones life in so very many ways; collectively we are a tremendous force of nature!

Thank you to everyone who has been on this journey, this victorious endeavour, with me; one hopes each one of you have enjoyed the destinations we have paused in. It is fitting that Dilys should have been the guest at both the first and the final salon; seldom does one meet someone who is quite so inspirational. We all have our moments when we have achieved something but Dilys has a refreshing honest consistency; she spoke of the times when life had been challenging as well as the (literal) high spots. Reflecting one what one loves most about Dilys is her that she is almost unaware of the impact she has had on the world, the difference she has made to so many people’s lives. Not just the vulnerable guests of the Touch Trust but those she taught and the partners she’s worked with.

For me the wicked little fairy that Tinkerbell like lurks under the elegant surface of Dilys cheeky little face is quite exquisite. She always makes me smile! Dilys has asked one to pass on her thanks to everyone who made her evening so special and so memorable. Once the film of the evening as been edited it will be posted so we can all get another dose of the delightful and my very dearest darling Dilys – over and over again! Heaven know one wishes one had spent more time dressing from behind as it were – certainly the curve of ones skulls will surely emphasis ones inadequate skills with the straighteners!



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Final Salon Shoes – Pair 5 Think! Schlapfa

Pair 5:            Think! Schlapfa

Vital Statistics

  • Make – Think!
  • Name – Schlapfa
  • Size 42 (8)
  • Heel height – 1 inch (3 cm)
  • Upper – Nubuck / Suede
  • Colour – Chocolate Brown

The Story: This pair came into my possession during one Hay Festival. Hay-On-Wye has some great independent shoe shops amongst the book and gift boutiques. This makes Hay a perfect place for a day out with a chum in fact my college friend and I were there only last week! On the earlier occasion I had gone to Hay with another friend who was having a hard time personally – man trouble I seem to remember – and the trip was designed to cheer her up (or at least distract her).

As a penniless artist my friend is seldom in a position to be frivolous where money is concerned; this day was no different. As a full time salaried employee at the time I had rather more scope to spend with gay abandon! But this is no fun on one’s own so to level the playing field I decided to allocate her a budget to spend; a notional amount only quantified in my head of course as embarrassment must be avoided at all costs. We all want our dignity to be preserved at all time; I am the absolute worst person in this regard taking self preservation to the dizzy heights of pig headedness at times!

The outcome of this shopping spree was two pair of Think! Shoes – identical of course; mine chocolate brown and hers a frankly nasty rusty orangey brown shade the like of which I had never seen before nor indeed since! I have enjoyed these quirky shoes with their Velcro over the arch fastening and wonky heel. The downside is that the circumference of the heel is not exactly kitten heel proportions but it is of a size that a degree of normal balance is required to avoid turning ones heel! So reluctantly I have had to admit defeat.

So ladies how does this innovation on the ‘trouser’ shoe strike you? I have worn them both with trousers and skirts with equal elegance especially coupled with a brown suede coat (which I am keeping!)

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Final Salon Shoes – Pair 4 Gardenia ‘Raindrops’

Pair 4 An Italian Extravagance: Raindrops by Gardenia


Vital Statistics

  • Make – Gardenia (100% Italian)
  • Name – Raindrops
  • Size – 39 ½ (6 ½ I think)
  • Heel height – flats with chunky caterpillar style soles
  • Upper – butter soft leather
  • Colour – Multi – Grey/black mottled

The Story: This pair of brogues are a testament to the folly of kidding yourself that the tight fit in the shop is because ones feet are hot. No the shoes are TOO SMALL. They always have been and always will be! Purchased in one of Cardiff’s oldest independent shoe shops in the Arcades these shoes are one of the Italian ranges regularly stocked. At the time (circa 2008/9) they were rather at the top of my price range but I had always wanted a pair of brogues like these so I bought them! Because I could! I have always hankered after ox-blood penny loafers and these seemed to be a contemporary twist on that style.

For me the length of the trousers worn with flat shoes has to be right i.e. i prefer not to be able to see the back of the shoe when one is standing. This style can be formal or informal as long as work confidently the quirkiness adds to ones outfit (in my humble opinion)! So do you have the devil may care confidence to fall in love with Raindrops; a perfectly apt name for residents of South Wales!

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Final Salon Shoes Pairs 2 and 3 – Tribecca by Kenneth Cole Productions

 Vital Statistics

  • Make – A Kenneth Cole Production
  • Name – Tribeca
  • Size – 8 / 41
  • Heel height – 3 ½ inches (9 cm)
  • Upper – leather
  • Colours – Chocolate Brown and Blak

Note: the black pair have a tiny tear on the right shoe at the base of the big toe joint.

 The Story: Around 2006/7 I visit one of my oldest and dearest friends in West Virginia. We met when I was studying (Agricultural Economics) in Washington State University in 1988/89; we were both in the same Womens Studies class and she was a student counsellor in the International Coman Hall of Residence.  Over the years we have grown older and wiser (in many but not all) ways sharing a joy of reading and writing as well as a strong feminist streak running through our shared core. I recently found a copy of Gertude Stein’s 3 Lives she gave me when she came to stay in Cardiff in 1994; in it she had written ‘1(you) & 1 (me) is the 2 of us – the third is the woman (womans sign)is the that which we become only in the presence of the other. You are & I am & I love the we that we become’. I had forgotten all about the book and reading the inscription again brought tears to my eyes; the value of real friendship that comes from years of co-habiting each other’s lives is impossible to measure. We are both facing personal challenges of a different nature at the moment and it is a great sadness that we are not able to join together to become the us that we both need so very much now. The time will come if we are patient; we are both headstrong and impatient!

During the visit in 2006/7 we went to an out of town shopping mall where we found a huge shoe emporium and I found these darlings! Seeing them first in one colour and then the other I knew I simply had to have both; the deal was clinched when the sale ticket was espied. She was going to the Opera with her husband and she tried on a pair of strappy black sandals. She is gorgeous with the elfin petite-ness I have always envied; the sandals looked so elegant on her slim tanned feet with perfectly manicured toes. Serendipitously the sandals were also on sale so I had to treat her; I was powerless to resist! As a childless woman my money was my own to spend as I pleased; she has three children and their needs come first with such frivolous purchases not quite so easy.

I have worn both pairs and they are remarkably comfortable with solid rubber grippy soles. Especially elegant with trousers I find. So when would you wear them ladies?

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Final Salon Shoes Pair 1

A Background Note

The final Victorious Endeavours Salon on 26 July 2012 celebrates the eight decades of Dilys Price (founder and director of the Touch trust) and pays due reverence to the part shoes play in a lady’s life. As previously mentioned the recent ‘upgrading’ of the Spinster’s ‘condition’ has seen the sand in the hourglass of her mobility running faster with the predicted emptying of the vessel very soon. The sands of time glisten as the light catches the crystalline structure before dissolving in the blink of one’s eye; as a result ones world changes irrevocably and a new perspective is required. Surplus assets acquired become available for redistribution: lucky sizes 7-8 (41-42) are invited to make the case for future ownership!

Accordingly there are five pairs of shoes which will be described to allow appropriately proportioned ladies to prepare for the Salon. As noted in a previous missive demonstration that the potential recipient can walk stylishly (or at least competently) will be required (please bring popsocks)!

Pair 1 Your feet look gorgeous

 Vital Statistics

  • Name – Your feet look gorgeous
  • Make – New Look
  • Size – 8 /41
  • Heel height  – 4 ¾ inches (12 cm) with a 1 ¼ inch (3 cm) platform under the sole
  • Upper – Black fabric

The Story: Unaccustomed to purchasing shoes from this type of high street store one surprisingly fell utterly in love with these platforms. Monochrome appearance oozes sophistication somehow. Couple this chic appearance with the statuesque Amazonian scale the wearer assumes on wearing and its heaven (in theory)!

The practicalities are a little different as they really are a bit of a challenge when ones balance is well challenged! But with the assistance of a pair of equally Cool Crutches this shouldn’t be a problem surely? However the crutches don’t quite extend enough to reliably compensate for the inbuilt wobble! Try as one might one has had to admit defeat although there is a slim possibility that one last outing might be tried (putting the beauties on in the restaurant as risking the zebra crossing would surely be folly).

The overall vision of the Spinster in this high street offer would certainly be striking as her height would exceed 6ft 2” – standing next to diminutive Dilys the portrait would be one of an Edwardian odd couple; hardly polite or respectful! So if you are intrigued by this pair please tell your Hostess how this elevated position of dominance would enhance your existence!

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Musing on Shoes

Shoes it seems are news at the moment with both Madonna and her brother announcing collections last week (Guardian G2 23 July 2012) – Madge’s Truth or Dare range for Selfridges is a collaboration with costume designer Arianne Phillips who has been responsible for styling Madonna for the last 15 years. Curious choice of name when today news report’s calls for supporters to donate $5 to Raising Malawi (Madonna’s charity) for work training paediatricians; this follows the same charity abandoning a project to provide a girls academy 2 years ago.

President Joyce Banda expressed reservations about Madonna’s ventures during an interview in April, “Madonna came to Malawi and Madonna came to build a school, an academy like the one Oprah [Winfrey] built in [South Africa], but she changed her mind so I have a lot of problems with a lot of things around the adoption of the children and the changing of the mind and then coming back to build community schools” (Guardian 21 July 2012). Nicely put Joyce; restrained polite and abundantly clear! My respect for the Malawian President grows daily as she balances pragmatism with an insightful political strategy seemingly free of self interest; this Banda is a refreshing breath of hope in the country once called the warm heart of Africa.

Anyway back to shoes.  Karen Kay writing in the Observer this weekend discussed the perennial appeal of the high-heeled shoes ‘those towers of female footwear that combine a plethora of complex contradictions: empowerment, vulnerability, sexual allure, femininity, subversion, fetishism’. Apparently we women in the UK sport the highest heels of all our European counterparts – on average height 8.25cm (reaching for a 12” ruler I shall convert this into old money i.e. 3 ¼ inches)! The article is actually a rather informative history of the heeled shoe; I recommend you cast your eye over it on line if you are remotely inclined towards a footwear fetish.

I confess the matter of white stilettos in the same sentence as Diana, Princess of Wales and dancing around handbags to Bananarama did induce the reflex reaction of a ‘sharp intake of breath’ coupled with a mild fit of the vapours. More because since I’ve cut my hair shorter – a matter noted this weekend by an acquaintance who hadn’t seen me since I’d had the chop ‘oh the short hair I read about it’ – one is struggling with the moisture saturated air. The unfortunate consequence being the periodic return of the Diana flicks (remember the cut in the 80s); not a good look!

In preparation for the Salon this week I will be throwing myself at the hopefully merciful feet of the gorgeous woman who will be joining me for the evening – darling please please do wonders with the ceramic straighteners! The final element of the Salon will be filmed and I simply cannot be immortalised with a Lady D coiffure! One certainly WOULD NOT wish to be remembered thus! It doesn’t take much to unbalance one these days so predictable obstacles simply must be removed as a precaution! On the subject of precautions may I take the opportunity to pass on a small tip when stacking ones dishwasher; we are all familiar with the advice to place sharp knives blade down in the cutlery basket. Well I need to extend this to forks as I managed to impale myself on the prongs of this implement last week; even though the spikes are well frankly not that sharp they certain can inflict a nasty nip when engaged with at speed!

When a young teenager – the age when one had just graduated from the Startrite foot measuring machine – a diagnosis of fallen arches (otherwise known as flat feet I believe). Shameful that the Spinster should be identified as fallen (albeit in a small part) at such a vulnerable age! The ‘treatment’ prescribed was nice lace up shoes complete with metal reinforced arches; the result being one still has an absence of arches. Of course artificially bracing the muscle simply gave it an excuse not to develop; why would you when something else was carrying the load (quite literally).

Imagine my delight when becoming a bridesmaid I got to wear proper shoes – either small heeled white sandals (to accompany the white dress with bunches of blue flowers made by my dear mother – she also made me a duffel coat and a satchel! Kirsty Allsop doesn’t get anywhere near my ma and her Husquavana Sewing Machine!). Or I may have been wearing caramel Mary Janes under the frock – my memory is hazy around matrimonial matter unaccustomed as one is to the institution! Around the same time I remember my first pair of red shoes complete with a pointy leather tongue that crept up the heel; there is always something special about a girl’s red shoes!

But all of these pale into insignificance when it comes to my silver ballroom dancing shoes – I have previously mentioned my short foray into the magical world of the waltz and quickstep! Although I accrued the triple bronze, silver and gold awards in both dances, plus individual badges in a range of others including disco, this acquired skill didn’t yield the husband it may have been designed to bag.  The elusive arches funnily enough never held me back on the wooden dance floor.

In summary shoes have played an influential part in my life – I have skipped over the shape shifting transitional Dr Marten phase complete with dungarees (compulsory garb for the feminist collective in the late 80s early 90s).  Dr Marten appeared in the news a few months ago as an iconic British brand experiencing a resurgence on the back of various stars being spotted with their feet encased in the 16 holers! Gee I remember the trials of lacing up ones boots in just the right way only to stand up and realise you could no longer feel your feet (all that before the self same sensation came along all on its own)!

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Canine Companions

Forgive my silence the last week has been a little fraught. After a somewhat less than satisfactory consultation in England an old college friend came to stay (with her sheepdog Zita) for a few days. And you know what it’s like when you get together with an old comrade; chewing the fat; reminiscing and flicking through old photo albums. The time just dissolves like the proverbial morning after alka seltzer and with it the days disappear without trace!

And what one is left with is a warm feeling of welcome space; the kind that can only be created by spending time with people who really know you (inside out). Oh and not forgetting the pile of laundry which one reflectively stuffs in the washing machine chuckling to oneself as those fragmentary images pop randomly into ones head. Crafting caterpillars from child size slipper socks as we compete to find ways to improve the overall design. A trip to Poundland proving most fruitful; it’s frankly amazing what one can do with a girl’s hair band!

The momentary alarm when using the downstairs loo which curiously has an odd aroma; lordy surely not an ‘uh hum infection in ones waterworks’! And then the gigantic sack of organic dog biscuits catches ones eye facilitating a sigh of relief accompanied by a shake of the head. Later the same day one narrowly misses watering the door mat as one knocks Zita’s water bowl with ones crutch; a lovely screech echoes as the metal dish skids across the ceramic tiles! Oh but I love the doggie; cuddling a canine mass as it whips ones chops with its (long) tail.

Normally a fan of the feline pet variety one strangely became comfortable with the persuasive crotch nudge encouraging the recipient to reach for the doggie treats. Zita brings new meaning to the term ‘doesn’t touch the sides’ as she wolfs down the ‘organic’ bendy biscuits in a millisecond – never once gagging! The dental bites don’t stand a chance of cleaning madam’s teeth as chewing seems not to be required when consuming these delicacies! And no I didn’t get close enough to detect any doggie breathe; the trick is to anticipate the embrace and quickly draw air into ones nostrils (and hold as long as possible).

On the subject of being nice to animals one slowed down when driving through Dinas Powys yesterday, not only because this was where one was ‘cautioned’ by a policeman on account of creeping (just) over the speed limit. No on this occasion one accounted horse riders, well to be precise a horse rider and a generously proportioned pony (Thelwell style) under the guidance of a child. Proud of myself for ones kindly behaviour one somehow managed to screen out the fact that one had Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon playing at a not inconsiderable volume! My how that CD transports me magic carpet like to quite another place..

Whilst one is with the animals as one was leaving the house yesterday morning the green garden waste bag – prematurely placed out front after friend and I had been busy with the choppers – was playing host to a multi coloured cat from three doors up. Curious creatures cats – responding to ones ridiculous baby talk voice the furry beast turned its head and yawned in ones direction! Careful lady one could change one’s mind about your cuteness.

The other activity consuming the Spinster this week has been the final Salon; one is touched and overwhelmed with the response. Just shy of 50 sophisticated ladies will be gathering to celebrate the eight decades of Ms Dilys Price (along with homage to shoes). Ones  project management and planning skills will be tested to the limit in the pursuit of perfection. If only ones excuse for a haircut was as easy to whip into shape! The is indeed a time and a place for relaxation but not where ones less than crowning glory is concerned. Aunty commented on the colour recently asking if one was trying out a new shade/tone – something a little darker? No this is one’s authentic colour courtesy to the genetic combination of one’s parents; strawberry blonde I believe!

Allowing one’s mind to wander rather ill advisedly under the circumstances – when the MS is active it’s rather like having incompetent builders in residence i.e. one needs to keep an eye on them! Putting together the Programme for the Salon augments one’s eye for detail as one endeavours (quite victoriously) to create a suitably unique experience with meticulous planning. Earlier on the G4S business had caught one’s eye specifically the barnet worn by the Chief Executive; some wag had suggested he might be the next Elnett (hairspray) model. Certainly those locks need some taming but the volume achieved is frankly awesome! One wondered if one could offer G4S ones strategic planning skills in exchange for the secret styling tips as the Spinster could certainly do with some body up top!

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Final Salon Date Announced

Further to my previous post about the forthcoming Salon to celebrate Dilys Price 80th birthday I am pleased to announce that the event will take place on Thursday 26 July 1830 start at Woods Brasserie in Cardiff Bay. As its a special occasion and the final salon we will be indulging in a 3 course menu along the lines of the first salons. In addition to Dilys being my guest we will be celebrating foot wear too!




I will be sending out invitations to ladies who have previously attended the Salons but if you would like to find out more and or book a place please email . As this is the last Salon and its a special one I am keen to finish the endeavour off in truly victorious style so I do hope you will join me (and Dilys) on 26 July 2012! As Dilys is (she tells me) the oldest woman in the world still skydiving we will have our own diminutive Olympian in our midst! And yes medals will be awarded (entirely based on shoe size…)

In sophisticated anticipation of hearing from you soon Ladies!

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A Salon Celebrating 80 Years and a Love of Shoes









The time for pondering and approaching speakers for Dilys Salon has ended me thinks. The first potential guest didn’t respond and the second was not available in June and July. I did consider waiting until the autumn but frankly that’s too far from Dilys birthday (23June) and is too late (potentially) for me.

So the Salon will be a celebration of Dilys; she will be her own guest and I shall respectfully grill her into a sophisticated fascinator! Now Dilys and I have agreed to plan on this basis we will identify a date and a suitably sophisticated venue. We are looking towards the end of July and I will be sending out invitations later this week I hope.

Apropos my previous post about the advanced marching of my MS the Salon will have another dimension. When constructing my new crutches earlier this week – which wasn’t exactly straightforward; first one easy peasy second one involving WD40 and a smattering of expletives – I realised (as if I hadn’t already) that these are likely to be the last additional pair of walking aids I shall be purchasing (c£130 per pair). The Cool Crutches name may work well in marketing terms but frankly it’s only funky and cool if one has a broken leg and it’s a passing phase; and is probably a child under 10 too.

For 5-6 years I used one crutch primarily outside with the occasional day in the house. The last 1-2 years the progress necessitated two outside and more recently two inside as well. The latter being somewhat irritating as I can’t really carry a tray anymore; in fact I am half expecting the person who helps me in the house (the fairy on a Friday) to suggest I start eating at a table! Without putting too fine a point on it my fine motor movement/co-ordination is not as good as it was. I am superb at spilling, dropping, sprinkling etc on the floors and the furniture which said fairy (who unfortunately relies on a hoover rather than a magic wand) has to make disappear! Obviously having the post feminist guilt about paying someone to assist with the domestics one does attempt not to leave the place too untidy on a Friday.

The last few weeks (and months) have been noticeably more difficult; the messages from my brain to my legs seem to have reverted back to pre-digital days and you may remember the limitations of an analogy system. More apt might be a parallel between a dial up internet connection and WiFi; currently the Spinster is operating a dodgy dial up nervous system with a likelihood of disconnection sometime this autumn. In layman’s – (why the devil not laylady – oops that has quite a different connotation) – I will be very surprised if I can walk at all by Christmas (probably sooner).

So the wearing of heels (even with the aid of my two new German imports) is going to come to a conclusion in the very near future. Pragmatism will win the day as even the Spinster who happily pays 3 figure prices for footwear can see the ridiculous extravagance of such profligate behaviour if frankly they never touch the ground i.e. they ain’t going to wear out; ever! Hence the added dimension to the Salon; we are going to celebrate outrageous footwear! I was going to insist on heels but reflecting on my regular attenders a number of whom seldom slip on sling backs, and may go into anaphylactic shock in the absence of laces or a nice Velcro fastening, I giggled like a girl before deciding to be a little more lenient! Don’t I always think about the comfort of my ladies; your ultimate wish is invariably my command (within reason please)!

The Salon will celebrate footwear in a number of ways (brace yerself bullet points follow):

  • Invite ladies attending to wear outrageous footwear; especially encouraged will be heels of an architectural nature usually reserve for the bedroom (sadly I got rid of my spike heeled knee length boots in stretchy suede recently! Amusingly I came to own these boots after a friend whose lodger had half inched them from his high street employer off loaded them onto me on account of them being my size rather than hers.)Fear not I saw some rather attractive innovations from the House of one Doctor Marten yesterday!
  • A shoe swap: as I rather too enthusiastic purchaser of shoes I have a not insignificant number of heels which I will no longer have an occasion to wear; given the range in my wardrobe compared to the number of days in a week it’s safe to say I have more than I need in good condition. So I propose to seat people according to their shoe size inviting everyone to bring a pair of shoes to swap! I will be adding a note with the story behind the shoes, when I bought them and where they have taken me; so as to share the lurve as it were!

I sincerely hope your sophisticated sense of fun has been tickled and you will fancy joining Madame Price OBE and I in late July. I already have commitments of ladies living out of town; in fact out of our great Nation.

This Salon will mark my swansong from this event in its particular manifestation as the change in ones circumstances require a pause for thought. The impact on one’s personal and professional commitments will need a period of review and reflection.  My dear friend and I will be taking a mini break in Kent to seek inspiration of the Bloomsbury kind as we visit Sissinghurst and Knowle where Vita Sackville-West et al hung out indulging in literary conversation and matters of great import. I’m rather hoping to get a few tips on garden design at least!

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Tapas at Twilight 10 May 2012

Apparently April is not a month the Contemporary Spinster needs to worry her precious medium sized middle aged head over this year. Why so you ask? And well you may! On Friday my friend’s nine year old daughter was at my house and we were looking at the calender apropos a convoluted conversation over how long she had off school for Easter. The cute kittens appear on eleven months in all their fluffy fur ball glory. I thought I’d turned over two pages but no matter many times we looked there was no sign of April! That of course is why the Salon Season is starting in May not April – why ladies I simply don’t have the time!

Tapas at Twilight will launch the 2012 Season with my guest Pippa Davies talking about her forthcoming novel The Gritties before the collective curious brain power of my sophisticated salon attendees! Ladies I need your assistance with the challenge of updating the Brownie Badge – the Contemporary Spinster will need to acquire all these delightful naughty natty awards in her quest to conqueror the Big Society! (I refer you to

Whilst doing a spot of research into the Brownie Badge I found a catalogue of pre 1995 badges  ( and there are some true horrors! My politically correct sensitive hackles were well and truly bristling if not twitching – allow me to demonstrate – we have the good the bad and the ugly here! Of course one should remember these badges are of their time but still I was a tad shocked by the messages we were giving our innocent girls only 13 odd years ago.

the Housekeeperthe Hostess Craft (Paper Chain Girls)   

     Dancer    Astronomer

         Bright Ideas

    Endangered Species

   Bannock Maker (Help me out what happened to the Backwoodsman?)

Friend to Disabled! (You can get a badge for being my friend! How marvellous is that – guess who’ll be milking this one ladies?) NB There wasn’t a badge for aligning images in WordPress so forgive the random placement of the images!

So can you see why this project is quite so very ripe for a makeover? Lady Baden-Powell please do not be offended; perhaps you could manage a little amused moment? I did stick it through to the Queen’s Guide Status in my later life so perhaps I might be forgiven per chance?

Upstairs at Bar One in the Wales Millennium Centre sophisticats will be conspiring if not perspiring as we giggle like girls once more! If you fancy coming along email to reserve your place at Tapas at Twilight where the gorgeous French lady and I will air kiss you in a sophisticated continental style welcome!

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Filed under Musings of a Contemporary Spinster, Sophisticated Salons