“Get your fat hoof into the designer shoe”

Said the stylist. In all fairness, she was being facetious, not abusive and my long skinny hoof may as well have been fat when I took on those designer gladiator heels. They were a small size 41, I am a large size 42. Yes indeed I have very big feet but I’m 6’ (183cm) tall, what do you want from me? Nevertheless, the show would not go on if the shoe did not go on and so began the battle of Alana vs Gladiator.

While this is not an image of the offending shoe, it does bear a very strong resemblance and serves the purpose of illustrating the degree of difficulty in getting it on.

It started out ok, with the soft leather welcoming my toes and the ball of my foot, but when Gladiator saw how much more foot was to come, he tightened up a little bit.

“Stop, you’re going to stretch me! Nobody told me I would have to stretch! No, please, I haven’t limbered up! Does anyone have any oil?”

If this shoe were a party, there would only be room for 41 very slender guests and there were 42 not so slender guests on their way in. This wouldn’t do, it was going to be uncomfortable but we couldn’t leave anyone out in the cold…or could we?

“Ok, we can get 42 in but some of you will have to occupy the deck and a couple of you will have to hang over the edge. Apologies.”

It took a solid 15 minutes but with subtle manipulation of the leather straps, a little more than a peep toe protruding from the front and abundant perseverance with a very stubborn zipper, the shoe fit…enough.

Now I like to think of myself as the ultimate professional, I walk well in heels even though I very rarely wear them. Alas, these gladiators defeated me. The 6” heel, coupled with the cramped accommodations had me walking like an old drag queen. I was in too much pain to be embarrassed and I was thanking my lucky stars that this was just a photographic shoot and not a runway show.

Then came the news that I would be wearing the same shoes in every shot so I may as well just leave them on. Awesome. I spent two hours straight standing in those heels. By the end of the shoot I couldn’t feel my toes and my calves were so stretched out that I found it hard to walk flat footed. Still, we got the shots, they’ll be beautiful and women everywhere will covet those fabulous gladiators.

I fought the gladiator and the gladiator won.


Home Made Baked Beans

I must confess, I usually serve my baked beans straight from a little blue tin. I don’t even bother to heat them, just throw them stone cold onto a piece of soy and linseed toast and I’m away.

Yesterday, however, I woke up with the urge to cook. Admittedly I had been spurred on by a recipe that was sent to me after a friend of mine heard about my cold tinned bean habit. I was first allured by the photo…


I challenge you not to be allured by this photo on a cold winter morning. I then moved on to peruse the list of ingredients. It should be noted that I have, in the past, ordered home made baked beans in cafes and been startled by the inclusion of coriander. I HATE coriander. This recipe seems to use oregano in place of coriander. Yum!

Home Baked Beans with Ham Hock

Serves six

200ml olive oil Italian Rosa
250g brown onion, chopped
50g fresh whole peeled garlic
4 standard tins of Italian crushed tomatoes
1 ham hock
300gm cannellini beans (soak beans overnight prior to use)
Half a bunch of oregano

1.    Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat
2.    Sauté the chopped onions and garlic still soft but no colour
3.    Puree the crushed tomatoes and add to the saucepan
4.    Add the ham hock and cannellini beans
5.    Sir well, add half of the chopped oregano and ½ a cup of water
6.    Cook over a low heat just simmering for 1.5 hours, stirring occasionally
7.    Remove the ham hock and shred the meat and return to the saucepan
8.    Add the remaining chopped oregano and season well.

So, obviously my impulse cooking session did not involve soaking beans overnight but, I’m happy to report, tinned cannellini beans work a treat, though I’d recommend using two tins. The recipe calls for 300g and there’s 400g in a tin so I thought I had ample beans but I didn’t think about the soaking weight.

All in all, I made a delicious dish. It has a really rich tomato flavour and the addition of the ham hock is pure genius, giving a lovely smoky flavour. I loved it served with a crusty bread roll…but I’m sure it’s also nice with poached eggs and sausages.

Btw, I found this recipe on the following amazing food blog…


My Neighbour the Entertainer

I don’t want to brag, but it seems I’ve recently become the inspiration for a singer/song writer. He needs a little help with the melody, it’s always the same…and sometimes he has trouble fitting all his words in with his melody. Still, his lyrics are very creative and always about me.


He lives downstairs and had been there about a week and half before he began test driving his pieces with me. The first one I heard after arriving home from a morning run. It went a little something like this…

”I’m living under an elephant”

“Never knew anyone could walk so hard”

Here is where I point out that we live on the top floor of an old terrace building that has very creaky floorboards and a step down to the living area and another step down to the kitchen and bathroom. When we’re in a hurry, we have a tendency to launch off those steps and land with a thundering shudder. Our former neighbours were just too polite to mention it but there’s definitely room for improvement in our consideration of what lies beneath.

Difficult as it is to describe a tune, I’d say our lovely neighbour takes his influence from the likes of Bon Jovi and Aerosmith. However, and I learned this the hard way, he likes a bit of death metal when he hears me laughing at him and feels that I have missed the point…

“You’re so fucking annoying!!!”

Shouted with such growling aggression that I was silenced on the spot, and followed by some interesting percussion involving deliberate stomping and startling door slamming. Point taken, no need to upset the foundations…and what about the dude who lives under him? Huh?

It’s clear I’m living above a mad man, but what brand of crazy I’m dealing with here is yet to be determined. He has had more to say since the song but it’s been mostly gibberish with the occasional gravelly, emphatic “fuckin’” thrown in. Hopefully he’ll sing again…but I’m not going to hold my breath.