If you’d like to skip straight to the creative project and learn how to upcycle a pair of flip flops into some pretty footwear for the summer then scroll down until you see Blue’s paw print below.
This episode is subtitled: ‘What was all that about…?’
‘Why don’t you wear that lovely summer dress you got last year?’ said Kim on Thursday night, in preparation for my lunch with Shaun the next day.
It’s a V-necked sleeveless sundress with a bold design in fuchsia and spring green.
‘It’s just not me,’ I said.
‘Nonsense!’ she replied, ‘you look lovely in that. And wear those strappy sandals – it’ll be worth a bit of pain to get the inside knowledge from Shaun.’
I reluctantly agreed to wear the uncomfortable shoes and the sundress, knowing that I’d add a cardigan to cover up a lot of the bare skin.
‘And go on – push the boat out – put some make-up on,’ she pleaded.
When the outfit and make-up were sorted Kim started telling me about Shaun’s various businesses. Most of it went over my head but it did sound as though he’d done very well for himself. I’m not sure why she’d gone to so much trouble to look it up but she insisted on telling me the ins and outs of his empire.
‘What was he doing between 2002 and 2005?’ she asked me.
‘How would I know that?’ I asked.
‘Because I’ve just told you!’ she replied, exasperated.
‘Oh Kim, stop testing me!’ I laughed, ‘He’s not going to expect me to know his CV.’
‘Better to be prepared,’ she said.
‘Let’s just see what happens,’ I said nervously.
Kim’s parting shot was, ‘Don’t forget to shave your legs!’
The next day I arrived for work carrying everything I’d agreed I’d wear at lunchtime. And there was so much of it that by 11am I thought I’d better start putting it on. How do people cope with going through this rigmarole every day?
I wriggled into the dress but couldn’t manage the zip so I discreetly called Jaz over to do it for me. She managed, but I could hardly breathe. Still, it’s holding me in, I thought. My next challenge was to bend down in this straightjacket of a dress and put the shoes on. I managed to get down and up again without any seams giving way but the shoes pinched and I felt quite sorry for myself.
I slapped the make-up on before emerging to show Jaz the full effect. First she looked startled, then screwed her nose up a bit, then said, ‘Lovely dress.’
‘The make-up too much?’ I asked.
‘You look like a panda,’ she said, then quickly added, ‘oh it’s probably just because I’m not used to seeing you in make-up.’
Jaz knows what she’s doing with a black liquid eyeliner so I trusted her judgement. While I was wiping it off I thought what am I doing? This isn’t a date, it’s lunch, and I’m not going to be able to fit any lunch in if I’m constrained in this dress. So I put my white linen-look trousers, t-shirt and newly upcycled flip flops back on just in time to see Shaun pull up outside.
He jumped out of his car (Kim told me later it was a Lexus) to open the passenger door for me and we sped off to a swanky restaurant I’d never even heard of.
I managed to wait until the waiter was out of earshot before blurting out, ‘I feel undressed!’ Then blushed at my mistake. Why was I so nervous? ‘Err. I meant underdressed, obviously.’
‘You look fine, Jenny. I’m sick of business suits,’ he said, indicating his very smart, made to measure, hand stitched Italian outfit. I’m exaggerating, but he did look amazing. He’d grown a few inches since our school days and grown into his features too. Men manage the aging process much better than women, don’t you think?
When the waiter came for the drinks order Shaun asked for a sparkling water then looked at me for my choice. I hesitated. My mind had frozen with the fear of making an inappropriate decision. What was wrong with me?
‘G&T?’ he suggested.
‘Lovely,’ I sighed, and tried to fumble my way through a conversation. ‘Where are you living these days?’ I asked.
‘Only about 30 miles away,’ he said. ‘I’ve got an office in the city centre but I spend a lot of my time out and about.’
Just then his phone lit up and started to vibrate on the tablecloth. Upside down I could see a photo of a young beautiful woman with perfect hair and make-up, and the name Francesca underneath.
‘Oh, excuse me a moment,’ he said and answered the call. ‘Hi Darling. I’m just in a meeting. Yep, call you back later. Bye.’
He looked back towards me and said, ‘My wife, Francesca. I’ve enjoyed being back in the area,’ he continued, ‘in my role as a local councillor, liaising over the proposal for Skolkensson to open up here. Can’t say I was happy about it though – I like the place as it is, as it’s always been.’ He leant in a bit and said, ‘between you and me, they are on the verge of pulling out which I think will go down well with a lot of people.’
Yes! This certainly was good news and meant that Kim’s mission had been accomplished so I could then enjoy lunch and a chat with an old friend, without the ulterior motive hanging over me.
I relaxed. The conversation flowed and the time flew. But, after he dropped me back at work, I was left wondering what that was all about. Will we go out again? I really don’t know. ◊
How to Upcycle a Pair of Flip Flops
I know I felt a bit casual in that posh restaurant with Shaun but my flip flops were very pretty. This is what they looked like before the makeover.
They were 99p from a discount shop and the pattern started to wear off as soon as I began to wear them. I thought the rest of it would scrub off easily but it didn’t so I ended up trying my Sticky Stuff Remover. Who knows why that should work, but it did, except for some stubborn patches of silver that I couldn’t shift.
I gathered together four lengths of ribbon (about 60cm each) and a mixture of beads and charms.
I used some PVA glue to anchor the end of the ribbon round the post of the flip flop, making sure it was pushed through to the underneath. You may find other glue works well (so far this is holding for me!).
Pull the post back into position, add another dab of glue to it and wrap the ribbon round once. Then bring the ribbon over the top of the strap in the middle.
I wrapped it neatly all the way down one strap, adding small amounts of glue every now and then.
I managed to get a corner of the ribbon through the eye of my bodkin. This made it easier to push it through to the other side. Be sure to add glue to secure it into place at this end.
Repeat for the other side.
Then snip the excess ribbon off the bottom of each of them.
Here is my selection of beads and charms. At the last minute I also decided to add a couple of old buttons too.
Decide on a pattern you’re happy with and stitch them on to the ribbon.
- It helps if your ribbon is double sided, although I think I managed to wrap it round without twisting it.
- Don’t add too much glue as you’re wrapping the ribbon because it will be difficult to stitch through it.
- It’s normal for the design of the outside strap on the left shoe to be a mirror image of the outside strap of the right shoe, and the same for the inside straps. But you can be completely random if you like.
- Old flip flops
- Two old buttons
Well, what a transformation! Do you think I should make a pair for Beryl?
See you all again next week.
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