Fur coats and fireworks

I returned from my fun-filled New Year’s trip to Munich on Saturday feeling somewhat jaded (those Germans really know how to “party” and if you’ve never been I thoroughly recommend it!). As the majority of my 4 days away were spent in a bit of a hung-over daze, our activities during daylight hours were fairly low-key (Munich comes awake at about 1am!) but I did partake in one of my favourite “sports” – people watching!

The residents of Munich are a pretty chic breed on the whole and due to the cold weather the winter “fashion parade” was in full flow. There was an abundance of fur coats, hats and boots – in fact they looked like they’d raided the set of “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe” (another thing I noticed was that “Moncler” puffer jackets were everywhere www.moncler.it/)… It’s funny that when my sister and I wore our (faux) fur coats on NYE we looked more like we were working the streets! Why is that?? I find it so annoying that we just don’t seem to be able to dress for the cold like our foreign cousins! Maybe it’s because we don’t have as much call for “full on” winter ensembles as they do (salopettes don’t count!) – even though this winter the snow and ice does seem to be hanging around in the UK more than usual so that if it becomes an annual occurrence maybe we’ll need to “up the winter fashion ante” in the future.

© Mshake | Dreamstime.com

Something else our Continental friends do better than we do is D.I.Y. fireworks! At midnight, as 2009 turned into 2010, we spilled out onto the Munich streets with our German friends, clutching champagne glasses to view the amazing firework displays that were lighting up the sky (it was so cold that I had to prize my hand off the glass when we got back inside!). At one point my sister was handed a sparkler and piped up “Aren’t we supposed to wear gloves?” She’d obviously watched too many of those government-sponsored adverts on UK tv warning us to avoid having our hands burned off by holding sparklers gloveless!! Our German counterparts were so much more relaxed about fireworks in general. They were going off at both ends of the street where we were standing, shooting into the sky at all angles. Compared to what we’re used to these days in the UK the sky was like some kind of war zone (all I was thinking was “where the heck are all those rocket sticks going to come down??”). The last fireworks I watched were at the Clapham Common Bonfire Night display in London and they didn’t let us within about 500m of the action – just in case!….. (I must add that on NYE I actually was hit on the head by what appeared to be a used firework wrapper but I’ve lived to tell the tale and everyone around me found it completely hilarious at the time!)… 

Anyway, one thing I was very happy to have with me in Munich was my new Ugg boots (www.uggaustralia.com). I had managed to last without a pair up until the Monday before Christmas when I was in London and it really snowed. The weather forecast had said there might be a light sprinkling so I carried my “faux” Uggs with me just case (I actually bought them in Munich a couple of years ago, from a hilariously cheap shoe shop appropriately called “Tack” – even though that’s very unfair to be honest because they’d lasted pretty well considering they’d only cost 6 Euros). Anyway, in London, I got off the tube where I was meeting a friend and when I emerged from the station I couldn’t believe my eyes – I might as well have been stepping off a plane in Lapland, such was the snowy scene in front of me. It was so lovely and Christmassy… however, walking in it was another matter. I put on my “Tack” boots and began trudging through the snow. Instantly I remembered something…the memory of “a horrible wet feeling”. It had happened last March when I’d worn the same boots to Sainsbury’s in the snow – after putting my foot in what I thought was black snow – but was actually a deep black slushy puddle!! My boots were SO soaking when I arrived in Sainsbury’s that I had to insert plastic bags into the boots (classy!) to put my feet into as they were completely soaked and I was squelching down the aisles! Afterwards I’d sworn to at least buy some Wellington boots for future snowy expeditions… However obviously I’d forgotten as here I was again, last week, squelching down the road – my boots so heavy with water this time that my feet turned completely inwards as I walked! 

So after this experience I’d decided that I would get some water-proof boots to take with me to Munich. I knew the obvious choice was a pair of Uggs – and to be honest I don’t know why I’d never invested in a pair before. Well actually I do – it’s due to the fact that everyone has them, which kind of put me off!! And also people wear them in the summer with denim mini skirts to go to Blockbuster for example, as though they’re slippers (I know this kind of outing feels like a “slipper” type shoe is appropriate but Uggs… in July!!). Please!

"Bind" Ugg boots

Anyway, I decided I’d be sensible and go to Ellis Brigham (the outdoorsy shop www.ellis-brigham.com) and get some practical black après-ski-type boots…. However en-route I slipped into Kate Kuba (www.katekuba.co.uk) “just to have a look” and spotted some rather lovely black Uggs (that were different to the “slipper” variety and more substantial and “booty”). In Ellis Brigham I found a perfect pair that didn’t make my size 8 feet look too horrendously huge. However, when I walked in them they squeaked a bit… the guy selling them to me said “Well as long as you don’t work in a library…?” What? Forget a library – I didn’t want to sound like a giant mouse when walking in them down the street! But really I was thinking how nice the Uggs were – so yes, off I went back to Kate Kuba to get them and I SO made the right decision!

They are possibly the most comfortable boots I’ve ever had. They’re the “Bind” type that are laced up the back, with molded rubber soles (I cut off the dangling beads that hung off the laces – they were very annoying and reminded me of dreads!). Lots of places appear to have sold out of the black ones and only have the tan ones left, but I found some on the Office website: (www.office.co.uk). At £200 they’re not cheap but as I kept telling myself they’re an investment. And at least I won’t have to resort to plastic bags in the future!

 P.S.

 An Ugg store has just opened at Bicester Village so you can get fabulous boots at even better prices – plus there’s a Moncler store too (www.bicestervillage.com)! That’s your wintry wardrobe sorted…

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