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Cinnamon patrol

Mr and Mrs Lili Wedding



Here in Ireland, an SSIA is a savings scheme that the government started to encourage people to... save, I guess. It was a long-term scheme, and it matures around now, so you hear a lot about SSIAs in banking and financial services ads (of which there are many).

But for me, an SSIA is a Sudden Shopping Incident or Accident. And I've had two recently.

I know, I know, it sounds bad. But bear in mind that until yesterday, I hadn't shopped for myself at all - apart from one shirt I had to buy for an interview.

So yesterday, in a state of post-haircut bliss, I bought a pair of shoes. I was looking for something different for our trip to Paris - but these kind of winked at me. A lot.

They're leather, with leather lining, a walkable heel height, and best of all, cheap: 28 euros. And since I don't have any black sandals here at all (and the one pair I have on the way are still in Auckland, and David hates them), I figured it was okay.

Then today, in a state of post-haircut depression (the day after the haircut is always a grim hair day: you can't replicate the great style that the hairdresser gave you, no matter how many notes you took or even if you bought the exact products they told you to), I popped out to send a parcel and see if I could find what I'd been looking for.

Which was a pair of flat, cute shoes, suitable for walking and sight-seeing, but a step up from my beloved, but very worn-looking white leather Converse all-stars.

I got lucky in Penney's, which is a little like Glassons, but with men's, children's, home, and beauty departments, and about ten times more variety, for about a quarter of the price. So, not really much of a comparison, but you get what I'm saying.

I wouldn't recommend Penney's to people who want clothes to last forever, or to people who hate shopping. The sheer volume means you have to spend a little time hunting, and what you get won't be a good investment piece - but by the time it's out of style it'll be falling apart anyway.

Anyway, I hit the jackpot with not one but TWO pairs of cute shoes. One to match a great copper-coloured top I have, and to wear out in the evening. And one pair so I don't always wear sneakers.

Conveniently, these shoes solve my what-to-bring-for-Paris problem. You know, the "what shoes will I bring that will be comfy but vaguely attractive, since I don't want chic Parisians to sneer at me any more than is strictly necessary, but I also want to keep the baggage to a minimum, since I intend to buy other things to use up our weight limit" feeling.

There's only one hitch. I don't remember a holiday with David when I haven't worn Birkenstocks or sneakers to sight-see. Will he start expecting me to look decent on holiday? Will he even recognise me after 3 months' solid sneaker-wearing?

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