The Spike


June 2016

Disco Tevas

Screen Shot 2016-06-13 at 11.52.27
Iridescent sandals, £50


I have been dithering over whether to get a pair of Tevas for about 18 years now.

It started when I went away with Raleigh International and the packing list for the Namibia expedition recommended a pair of Tevas. And I thought “Fucking no way. Those things are hideous.”

I went to a shop and bought a more acceptable pair of action sandals (to my eye). Then I spent the last 6 weeks of the expedition glueing the motherfuckers back together with boot glue because they couldn’t handle the heat, the dust, the sweat, the pace.

I was very sympathetic: by that time I was coming apart at the seams, too.

Of course, everyone else who had got a great big hideous pair of Tevas were laughing their heads off, diddling about happily, scampering over rocks and skipping over gravel and light scrub.

So I felt a right douche. And now Tevas come in awesome crazy colours – and with shoes at the moment, it seems like the uglier the better.

AND, we are going on two quite action-y holidays this summer, one to Devon and one to Greece, where there will, I guarantee, be a fair amount of climbing over rocks and slogging up hills carrying one or other or both my children. My shoe options are troubling me.

Also, also, also I lost litte Sam’s action sandals in Sicily so he is down to his Geox light-ups, which smell a bit of wee because he did a huge wee all over them by mistake when we were potty training last month. And, Kitty’s Crocs keep on sliding off her feet – she has inherited my Dad’s long, slim feet and narrow heels and if she runs in her Crocs they just flick off. She thinks it’s funny, of course.

So I took all the bloody hints the universe was sending me and finally went onto the Teva website and purchased three pairs of excellent and sturdy sandals – a pair of “Disco Tevas” for me, which look much better on than you think they’re going to – the iridescent sheen is very subtle – and a pair of uncompromising feet protectors each for Kitty and Sam.

Screen Shot 2016-06-13 at 11.53.01
Sandals for Sam with a toe guard because he always drops things on his toes. £37.50
Screen Shot 2016-06-13 at 11.53.33
Purples ones for Kitty that won’t flick off: £35

I would show you a photo of my Disco Tevas on, but they have come up a little too small – I am a shoe size 4.5 so I got a 4 because I don’t like a flappy sandal, and they came up a very true 4, which is too small. So I am swapping for a size 5.

I’m sure you will find that instructive, you always want to know about sizing.


Two books

I have been reading, as promised, the first book of the Cazalet Chronicles by Elizabeth Jane Howard. If you haven’t read it, it’s terrific, I really recommend it. I especially like how accurately and sympathetically Howard renders children, their inner thoughts and feelings. I also enjoy with almost a physical lust sensation all the housekeeping detail. “Mrs Cripps poached the salmon, made a mayonnaise, two Victoria Sponges and a pint of custard…” etc. The Second World War does come along, alas, at the end of this first book but I trust Howard to cast a rosy gloss over it, the same way she does with everything else.

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 14.08.26

Porcelain is a memoir by the DJ Moby and it is surprisingly brilliant, honest and very funny. You don’t have to like his – or any – music to enjoy it.

Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 13.44.40


Best jumpsuit

I am hugely in love with this culotte jumpsuit, which I bought in a Tall from to incorporate my stupid long back. The regular size did, in fact, fit fine but the Tall one is that bit more comfy.

It looks like it might a bit dicey to wear with a bra, but in fact the knotted front – if you leave the ends long  conceals any bra connective tissue, so as long as you’re wearing one in nude it looks fine.

On sale now for only £20!

Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 13.38.36
Looks better on than this


Colouring-in tablecloth

This is a marvellous thing. Spread it out on the table, put some pens or crayons out and let the little suckers run riot. Buy from Eggnogg here.

Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 11.12.28
Colour-in Tablecloth: Teatime. £7.50



Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 11.09.04
Packing inspo

Perhaps I will only at 40 years old be able to pack properly for a holiday. Every time I pack for any holiday, I get a bit better at it. But it’s still not perfect and I find myself standing in a strange bathroom in a villa with crickets chirping outside, kids shrieking, running around the pool, covered in mosquito bites, holding chocolate croissants, and I will be thinking: “Damn, I wish I’d brought the…” I go against the gender stereotype norm when it comes to packing – I never bring quite enough.

This holiday I’ve just returned from in Sicily was good. I would give my packing 8/10. I am especially pleased that I put embarrassment to one side and packed 40 PG Tips teabags because without a cup of PG Tips in the morning I am really only half a person. And Liptons Yellow Label really won’t do.

But there a few items I missed out. As luck would have it, we have another holiday happening at the end of August, so I’ve got another chance to pack perfectly.

The things I missed most this time were:

1 My micro fibre hair turban. Mine is Aquis Lisse, but Soap & Glory also do one here. I meant to pack it, but forgot it and missed it sorely. I’m sure you know the thing I mean – it’s a kind of scoopy towel with a loop and a button and you jimmy up your hair with it. If you’re getting your holiday right, your hair ought to be wet quite a lot of the time and it’s often very handy to be able to get it right out of the way and dry it at the same time, while you get all the endless errands done that come with holiday villa living.

2 A foot file. My feet take a battering on holiday, from the heat, the sand, the chlorine, the salt water. And I am a monster for picking at dry skin so they quickly turn unsightly. I got my very good foot file from a corner shop chemist, but any old one will do.

3 After-sun hair treatment. My hair is bleached to shit as it is at the ends, and the swimming and the sun left it a proper frizzed-out mess by the evening. And not in a good way. Next time, I’m packing something like the Schwarzkopf Sun Protect leave-in conditioner and my Keratase Elixir Ultime Hair oil. I hear great things about Philip Kingsley’s Elasticizer, too.

Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 11.06.25
£17 for 75ml

4 A blow-dry brush. I only packed on Tangle Teezer for the whole family, but in fact I really missed my little aerated brush that I use for blow-drying.

How about you? What things have you latterly discovered you can’t do without on holiday?


Blog at

Up ↑