Willow Shoes is a great kiwi success story of one woman with long feet, a tragically empty shoe rack and a long list of awful shoe shopping stories to tell who decided to change shoe shopping for NZ women with long feet forever!


Over a decade on, Georgie's wardrobe is full to the the brim with shoes, boots, heels, colour, flats, sandals, suede, leather, funky styles...its insane! Willow Shoes is New Zealands leading specialist in womens shoes size 10+ and a favourite retail and online destination for so many women all over NZ and from around the world with stores in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch. We hold the most extensive and fashionable range of shoes for long sizes anywhere in NZ and even Australia we are told!

Willow Shoes first operated in a dining room and visited customers on its well loved "shoe tours" where we met hundreds of customers and grew our understanding of long feet and styles that suit taller and larger women. We also shared the same shoe shopping stories that drove us all to despair and even tears or laughter!

Everyone at Willow Shoes has a real passion for our shoes because they all have long feet too. We really know our products and understand what we are talking about, making you feel totally at ease about your feet and being in our stores.

Willow Shoes is focussed on continually searching the world for the best selection of shoes in longer sizes to suit our customers. We have challenged old fashioned views about long feet and we are winning. We believe in quality products and great customer service and will do anything to help you - just ask. If you see a style somewhere that you love - tell us about it and we'll see what we can do.

We make online shopping easy and risk free - we still give refunds, we do layby, and you can talk to a real person who has long feet and get some genuine advice about your purchase if you need it.

At Willow Shoes we want every woman to feel great about herself and love the shoes she buys from us.

Maybe you already have a great pair of shoes from one of our stores and perhaps also had the ultimate experience of a 'shorter friend' being envious of your new shoes.

Our shoes are available through our stores and on our website.

We welcome you to Willow Shoes and encourage you to JOIN our database and LIKE US on Facebook so you can keep up with the latest trends, the styles arriving in store and those all important SALES!

from

All the girls at Willow Shoes


I’m the girl who started Willow Shoes...

I’ve done a bit of everything over the years. I’m still very involved in the business every day but more behind the scenes in the stores.

The best part of my work is...

The shoe buying, and I still get the biggest kick out of seeing or hearing about a new customer that just found out about us and is in disbelief at the shoes in front of them xx

My shoe size and height...

My Shoe Size is 43 and edging towards 44 at times. I’m 175cm tall. Since having 3 kids my feet have gone up from a standard 42.

My personal style is...

Mostly classic but always with an added twist – shoes, scarves, jewellery. I love to know what’s happening in fashion and need a new look every season! I love crisp black and white style and metallic shoes with a block colour. I also like to create a stylish look with some metallic casual shoes for work sometimes too.

My favourite shoes brands at Willow Shoes are...

Pinto di Blu, FRANKiE4Papucei and Addiction...so hard to stop at just 4 brands! 

Shoes I can’t throw out........it’s a tough one!...

Naturally a growing problem when you are the person who started Willow Shoes! So many shoes in my wardrobe that I still love. The oldest pair are Marler Natural Snake Mules from the very first winter range in 2001. These were the first pair of shoes I owned that fitted, that I truly liked and were not black! I also have real trouble throwing out anything Italian!

Something that really makes me crazy (in a good way) is...

Live Music….I’ve just been to Passenger and absolutely loved it.

Two ways I like can really chill out and empty my head are...

Being in my garden or taking the Caravan somewhere with the family.

The best café I know is...

Mirabelle in the main street of Carterton – it’s true French, amazing coffee and don’t blink or you will miss it. I also think it’s impressive that Floridita’s in Wellington is still as fabulous as it was 20 years ago.

A great piece of advice for life is...

Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't wait for a special occasion, today is special

A recipe everyone needs is...

Chicken Marbella

12 Chicken Thighs - Skin off

1 Cup Prunes

2 Cloves Garlic

1/4 Cup Dried Oregano

1/2 Cup Capers and a little juice

1/2 Cup Green Stuffed Olives

Salt and Pepper

6 Bay Leaves

1/2 Cup Red Wine Vinegar

Place chicken, prunes and garlic into an oven dish. Sprinkle with oregano, capers, olives, salt and pepper. Place bay leaves on the top and pour in the red wine vinegar. Cover and marinade overnight in the cooking dish.

Heat oven to 180C

Pour 1 cup of white wine over the Marbella

Sprinkle with 1/2 cup brown sugar

*Tip - I often do half again on all the liquids so there is more juice at the end for serving.

Bake for 1 hour - covered for the first half hour, uncovered for the rest.

Serve with couscous and steamed greens.

Leftovers: Great on pizza with Mozzarella. Avoid using too much juice though.

 

The store I work in and when I started at Willow...

I work in the Auckland Store. I have worked at Willow Shoes for 10 years, 6 of those part time in the store. For the last four years I have worked full time as Stock and Systems Manager with occasional time in the store.

My shoe size and height...

My Shoe Size is 12 and I'm 178 cm tall.

My personal style is...

My fashion style is mainly black and white and generally classic styling zhushed up with jewellery and scarves.

The best café is...

The best café I know is Café 88 at Mt Maunganui

My favourite shoe brands at Willow Shoes are...   

Amber Rossi, JB Martin and Hogl. European brands fit my feet really well. I also like Addiction.

The pair of shoes I just can’t part with

David Elman long, black suede, pointed toe, wedge boots. I have had them for years and even though they really are looking a bit tired I just can't part with them. Love suede, love that they are nice and long up the leg and the heel height is easy to wear all day.

Something that really makes me crazy...

Something that makes me crazy is road rage. It is so senseless.

My favourite way to chill out...

My favourite way to chill out is to go walking or to the beach.

A great piece of advice for life is...

A great piece of advice for life is"make the most of every day and every opportunity as life truly does go so fast”

A recipe everyone needs is...

Salmon Dip

210g tin of Salmon

125g pottle of Sour Cream

2 tablespoons Mayonnaise

2 finely chopped Spring Onions

Sprinkle of Dill

Squirt of Lime or Lemon Juice

Ground pepper

Empty tin of salmon and remove bones.

Mix salmon and all other ingredients together.

Refrigerate.

Serve with crackers, French bread, crostini or vegie sticks.

Easy and delicious.

 

The store I work in and when I started at Willow...

I work in the Auckland store and have been with Willow for 5 years. I started as the Saturday girl and now I’m the Sales and Customer Services Manager and I love it.

The best part of my work is...

I get to talk to ladies all over the country about shoes (and all sorts of other things) every day. I have made some really nice friends over the years and yet have never met them in person. We always have a joke and a laugh and then get down to the serious matter of beautiful shoes and how they fit.

My shoe size and height...

I’m a size 11 in shoes and 185cm tall or I always say 5 foot 12 and a bit !! Sounds shorter don’t you think?

My personal style is...

I have three daughters 22, 20, 17, so it’s safe to say that my style is whatever I can get out the door in without the girls saying ”Is that what your wearing?…really?"

My favourite shoe brands at Willow Shoes are...

Pinto di BluAmber Rossi and Moda di Fausto ,every season never fails to give us beautiful shoes and the great news is they are not always heels.
     
    
Something that really makes me crazy...

When my family leave the empty toilet roll and don’t change it for a new one grrr!

My favourite way to chill out...

I do love a good movie - a group of friends and I try to go every Tuesday. We have seen some crackers this year: Whiplash, The Skeleton Twins, The Dark Horse, The Rocket, Dallas Buyers Club to name just a few. Tuesday is a great night: first, the movies and also it's a night off cooking; the perfect chill out.

A great piece of advice for life is...

I have two pieces
1. "Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever".
2. "The best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and advise them to do it.”

A recipe everyone needs is Cheese Rolls

Warning: they are really not going to get the heart foundation tick
This makes about 2 loaves of sandwich slice bread

Cheese Rolls

1kg of cheese

I use Edam it makes me feel better(less fat) but I’m sure my Mum would have used Tasty

1 tin of Evaporated Milk

1 Packet Onion Soup

And a little mustard to taste

Put them in a double boiler until the mixture melts

Then spread on each slice it doesn’t need to be very thick

Then roll them up

They freeze really well so you can just take them out as needed

 

The store I work in and when I started at Willow...

I work in the Wellington Store - I started in 2017. 

My shoe size and height..

My shoe size is 43 and I'm 175cm tall. I think I'm on the short side for Willow ladies! LOL!

My personal style is...

My style is really dependent on how I'm feeling on that day! I love denim, leathers, furs (I would never wear real fur!). I love different pieces and slotting them into my wardrobe. I like to know what is happening from season to season!

The best café is...

The best café for me is Prefab in Jessie St, Wellington and Beach Babylon in Oriental Bay, Wellington.

My favourite shoe brands at Willow Shoes are...

Bresley, Gelato, Addiction and Pinto di Blu.

The pair of shoes I just can’t part with

All of them! LOL! 

Something that really makes me crazy...

...is when people don't do as they say they will!

My favourite way to chill out...

I love going for a walk around Wellington waterfront with my husband and daughter and our two pups Beau nd Lola.

A great piece of advice for life is...

Some great advice is "Don't sweat the small stuff" and "Pick your battles".

A recipe everyone needs is...

A recipe I think everyone needs is Raspberry & Lemon Curd Roulade - if you love a good sweetie! 

Raspberry & Lemon Curd Roulade (serves 6-8)

4 large eggs - separated

1+1/4 cup castor sugar

2 Tblsp flaked almonds

200ml cream

1 jar lemon curd (to taste)

1 punnet raspberries (or other berries)

1. Preheat oven to 180C. 
2. Whisk the egg whites until they start to whiten. Slowly add the sugar, 1 Tblsp at a time until the egg whites are stiff.
3. On a baking tray lined with baking paper, spread the egg whites with a spatula to create a ripple effect. Sprinkle with almonds and bake for 20 minutes.
4. While the meringue is cooling, whip up the cream until it holds in soft peaks. Stir in the lemon curd.
5. Flip the cooled meringue onto a sheet of baking paper dusted with icing sugar. Spread the cream over it and scatter the raspberries over it. Roll up the roulade and serve!

 

The store I work in and when I started at Willow...

I work in the Christchurch Store and have been here 2 years and feel very lucky to have worked with the women I do.

My shoe size and height...

My Shoe Size is 42 and I am 173 cm tall.

My personal style is...

Well, hopefully, modern and age-appropriate. I tend to return to the same few NZ owned stores. As a mother of 3 daughters, I am made very aware if I have got it wrong. I try to avoid too many dark clothes but then so many beautiful things come in black.

The best café is...

Rocksalt, and the best thing is it’s only 300 metres from my house. After the quakes it became the gathering place for our group of friends and ever since we are habitually there for Friday night drinks. It is our own Rovers Return but with much nicer people.

My favourite shoe brands at Willow Shoes are...

De Robert shoes and boots both in heels and flats. To me, they are exquisite and luxurious. For completely different reasons I love the wintery comfort of Wolky. They are fabulously stylish weekend wear for our southern climate. No chilblains for me.  Then there is Papucei – always a little bit quirky and unique.

The pair of shoes I just can’t part with

Booties my dear Mother knitted for my first baby.

Something that really makes me crazy...

Something that makes me crazy is when there is no Chardonnay in the fridge.

My favourite way to chill out...

My favourite way to chill out usually involves being outdoors, hiking, walks or playing sport.

A great piece of advice for life is...

Nike’s brand statement "Just do it”. Giving something a go and then surprising yourself is a fabulous feeling. Seeing other people accomplish something they thought beyond themselves is also great to witness.

A recipe everyone needs is...

This pork is so good for feeding large numbers as it can be made earlier then heated and served in a slow cooker along with slider buns and a crunchy salad.

Chelsea Winter’s Pulled Pork

2kgs pork shoulder

Olive Oil

2 cups chicken stock

2 tbsp cornflour

50g butter

Squirt of Lime or Lemon Juice

Ground pepper

Heat oven to 140 degrees

Place pork skin side up and pat skin with paper towels then score.

Place pork on a wire tray and then place tray in a roasting dish.

Drizzle olive oil over whole pork, top and underside. Sprinkle generously with salt and massage it into skin.

Roast in oven for 4 ½ hours. With 40 mins to go, turn up temperature to 180 C, then remove from oven and rest for 15mins.

Tip cooking fat from roasting dish. Whisk ¼ cup of stock with cornflour and add to roasting dish with stock and butter. Simmer over medium heat for 15 mins and season.

Pull crackling off the pork and grill for 2 mins then cut. Shred the pork with forks and place in a serving bowl. Add gravy and mix.

 

The store I work in and when I started at Willow...

I have worked in the Christchurch Store for fifteen months, everyday is different, it’s colourful and it’s always a pleasure to help customers find a pair of shoes that fit.

My shoe size and height...

My Shoe Size is 11.5 (43/ 44) and I’m 178cm tall.

My personal style is...

My fashion style is simple, trans-seasonal with a bit of an edge and sensible (needs to be able to go in the washing machine!) I like clothes to last, so I tend to buy a few simple good quality items that I can giggle around with scarves, jewellery and shoes.

The best café is...

The best café I know is "A Mouse called Bean” –a container in the Re-start mall.

My favourite shoe brands at Willow Shoes are...

Wolky and Papucei.

The pair of shoes I just can’t part with

My wedding shoes and this print by Sandra Thompson who was one of my favourite teachers at Polytech. 


Something that really makes me crazy...

Something that makes me crazy is my husband’s driving. Where do I start.....

My favourite way to chill out...

My favourite way to chill out is with a needle and thread of some sort or with the sun on my back in the garden.


A great piece of advice for life is...

Be kind.


A recipe everyone needs is Hedge Hog Slice

Or Bikkie Slice as it’s known in our house.

Hedge Hog Slice

½ Cup Sugar

120g of Butter

1 beaten egg

450g crushed wine biscuits or malt biscuits or anything similar

(don’t be tempted to use two full packets the mixture will be too dry)

1 Tsp Cocoa



Icing:

1 cup Icing Sugar

2 T spoon Cocoa

A knob of butter

1-2 Tsp of boiling water

Method:

1. Crush biscuits

2. Melt together butter , sugar and cocoa. Remove from heat and beat in egg – mix will thicken.

3. Add crushed biscuits and mix well.

4. Press into a lined slice tray mine is about 22 x 15 cm. Refrigerate.

5. Ice when cooled

Icing:

1. Put Icing Sugar, butter and cocoa in a bowl, microwave for 10sec to soften the butter, add the first Tsp of boiling water, mix and add more water till spreadable consistency is reached. (do not leave out the butter!)

 

The store I work in and when I started at Willow...

I have been working in the Hamilton store on Saturdays for the last two years, and since July 2015 I have been working three days a week. The best part of my job is our wonderful customers. I am genuinely happy to see a familiar face enter the store, and equally enjoy meeting our new customers. Helping to find the perfect pair of shoes is also very rewarding and a privilege.

My shoe size and height...

My Shoe Size is 45/46 and I’m 193 cm tall.

My personal style is...

My fashion style is always changing. At the moment I like wearing neutral colours, and adding colour and interest with shoes and/or accessories.


My favourite shoe brands at Willow Shoes are...

Clarus because they are daringly different and beautiful, Moda di Fausto for their elegance, and Romika for casual comfort.


The pair of shoes I just can’t part with

Style SS12 141 by Moda di Fausto with red and white stripes. They are elegant and comfortable, and very ‘Italian’. I bought them shortly after starting to work at Willow, and they were my first venture into the world of colourful shoes, and the beginning of my love affair with red shoes!


The best café is...

My ideal café is one that is comfortable and friendly and serves great coffee. In Hamilton I like going to Impresso in Rototuna (like a second home), and also Coffee Culture at Five Cross Roads.


Something that really makes me crazy...

People eating apples in bed…


My favourite way to chill out...

My favourite way to chill out is hiding in a corner in the coffee shop with a book, endless coffee and no phone.


A great piece of advice for life is...

Live in the moment. Be thankful.


A recipe everyone needs is Very Simple Caramel Slice

This is a very simple recipe but tastes and looks good.

Very Simple Caramel Slice

1 packet tennis biscuits (in the South African section in supermarket)

1 can of caramel

Coconut

On a sheet of tin foil, re-assemble the packet of biscuits by spreading caramel in between biscuits and putting them together again.

Spread rest of caramel around top and sides of reassembled biscuits and cover top and sides with coconut.

Wrap with foil and leave in fridge overnight.

Remove foil and cut into slices diagonally: Cut off one corner at an angle, eat the corner immediately, and then continue slicing at an angle.

 

The store I work in and when I started at Willow...

I work in the Auckland store and have been with Willow for 2 years. I work 3 days a week. I love the buzz and excitement of our customers especially when they are first timers in store, and the joy on their faces when they see the beautiful shoes that we sell.

My shoe size and height...

My Shoe Size is 42 and I am 5ft 9ins tall.

My personal style is...

I sew most of my own clothing - I find designs on line and sew them with my own choice of fabrics. I wear mostly black and white with a splash of colour. My son Ben thinks I need to wear more colour so this season I’m splashing out in more colour.  

My favourite shoe brands at Willow Shoes are...

Moda di Fausto - the most stunning shoes - Italian made quality, and style to suite everyone’s desires. I also like Bresley and Addiction.

The pair of shoes I just can’t part with

A pair of shoes I just can’t throw out is my very first pair of shoes that I brought from Willow – they are a pair of Rapisardi beautiful elegant black stiletto sandals - Italian made style that will never date.

The best café is...

The best café I know is Fiesta Coffee Lounge in Pt Chevalier – it has great coffee and a lovely setting for winter (nice open fireplace) and summer (outdoor area).

Something that really makes me crazy...

Something that makes me crazy (I have to agree with Anina on this one) is my husband’s driving - he criticises everyone on the road; we have 3 boys and they’re already backseat drivers.

My favourite way to chill out...

My favourite way to chill out is going to our lovely beach home in Mangawhai. We have just finished building it and I love sitting around with friends in the evening having a glass or two of Pino Gris, and a good laugh.

A great piece of advice for life is...

A great piece of advice for life is to treat others how you would like to be treated.

A recipe everyone needs is Chicken Nibbles


Chicken Nibbles

1 KG chicken wings (or nibbles)

660 mls coke (not diet)

1/3 cup soya sauce

2 large cloves garlic

  1. Place chicken in frypan

  2. Mix coke, soya sauce, garlic and pour over chicken. Cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes turning several times until cooked.

  3. Remove chicken. Reduce the liquid in pan over fairly high heat, by half.

  4. Return chicken and cook, turning often over moderate heat until the liquid reduces to a thick syrup.

  5. Keep turning the chicken until they become dark brown and coated.


 

The store I work in and when I started at Willow...

I have worked in the Auckland Store for nearly two years and absolutely love it! Being able to share my passion for gorgeous shoes and help other women to feel fab is so rewarding.

My shoe size and height...

My Shoe Size is 10.5 and I’m 178cm tall.

My personal style is...

My fashion style is smart, classic, on trend with a touch of girly.

My favourite shoe brands at Willow Shoes are...

Addiction and Bresley.

The pair of shoes I just can’t part with

A pair of shoes I just can’t throw out are my trainers – exercise keeps me sane.

The best café is...

The best café I know is Little Bird in Ponsonby.

A book I couldn’t put down...

A book I couldn’t put down …. I’m not really a book person, but give me a recent Good Health NZ magazine any day and I’m hooked.

Something that really makes me crazy...

Something that makes me crazy is when I miss my scheduled exercise workouts for the week!!!!

My favourite way to chill out...

My favourite way to chill out is enjoying a healthy picnic in the park.

A great piece of advice for life is...

A great piece of advice for life …. "The best project you’ll ever work on is YOU”

A recipe I think everyone needs is a good clean smoothie recipe – great for a pre or post-workout boost.


Blueberry Banana Protein Smoothie

1/2 c (70g) frozen unsweetened blueberries

1/2 medium (70g) banana, sliced and frozen

3/4 c (180g) plain non-fat Greek yogurt

3/4 c (180mL) unsweetened vanilla almond milk

2 c (260g) ice cubes

  1. Add all of the ingredients to a blender in the order listed, and pulse until smooth. Serve immediately.


Notes: Any milk (cow's, soy, coconut, etc.) may be substituted in place of the almond milk.

As written, the smoothie is very thick; adjust the amount of ice to suit your preferences.

{gluten-free, clean eating, low fat, low calorie, high protein}

 

The store I work in and when I started at Willow...

I have been working in Willow’s Hamilton store since July 2015, having been a customer since the beginning. I have a passion for shoes and great customer service, so absolutely love working at Willow.

My shoe size and height...

My shoes size is 43/44 (narrow) and I am 1.83cm tall.

My personal style is...

My fashion style is modern/classic, I like to wear plain colours and dress up with jewellery.

My favourite shoe brands at Willow Shoes are...

Papucei and Pinto di Blu.

The pair of shoes I just can’t part with

A pair of shoes I just can’t throw out, my wedding shoes (which have been painted black since wedding 13 years ago). They have been the only high-heeled shoes in my wardrobe; so have come out for all the special occasions.Unfortunately they have seen better days, so I am reluctantly looking for a replacement…(that’s the shoes, not the husband).

The best café is...

Well, my husband would say, "I should know, given the number I have frequented”. My favourite would be Vic’s Café, in Christchurch. But having moved back to Hamilton after7 years in Canterbury, I have to say my friends along at Jam Café, Queenwood do have some awesome Oaty Caramel Slice and Tan Slice.

A book I couldn’t put down...

A book I couldn’t put down, give me any murder mystery and I will struggle to put it down.

Something that really makes me crazy...

Something that makes me crazy would have to be boys missing the toilet!!!! Some would say, the joy of being a mother of 3 boys.

My favourite way to chill out...

My favourite way to chill out would be out on the lake in the boat with the family, fishing or water-skiing. Or having a good catch up with my girlfriends over lunch or a wine.

A great piece of advice for life is...

A great piece of advice for life, there’s no I in Team.

A recipe I think everyone needs is...

...one for a good Carrot Cake. It can be served with coffee or as a dessert. This one has become my "signature dish” among my friends.


Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake ½

- 1 ½ cups oil

- 2 cups soft brown sugar

- 2 cups self-raising flour

- 2 tsp baking soda

- 1 tsp salt

- 4 eggs

- 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

- 3 cups grated carrot

- 1 tsp vanilla essence

- 1 cup milk

- 1 tsp nutmeg

- 1 tsp cinnamon


Cream Cheese Frosting

- 125g butter

- 250g cream cheese

- Juice from rind of one lemon

- 1 tsp vanilla essence

- 2-3 cups of icing sugar

Carrot Cake ½

  1. Place all ingredients in mixer with "K" attachment and mix until just combined. If you do not have an electric mixer, mix together in a bowl with a wooden spoon, but do not over-mix.

  2. Place in a greased ring tin and bake for one hour at 150degC(fan oven).


Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Have the butter and cream cheese soft and at the same consistency. Beat them with "K" attachment (or electric mixer) until light and fluffy, add vanilla and lemon, then slowly add icing sugar cup by cup.

  2. Spread on cake and decorate with half walnuts.
 

The store I started in and when I started working at Willow…

I am the ‘Saturday girl’ at Willow Shoes in Wellington and have been there since September 2014. I have always loved shoes maybe because when I was a teenager in the 1960s it was virtually impossible to buy anything other than school shoes if you were over size 8. I have been a customer of Willow since Georgie started selling out of her dining room in Karori. After I retired as a secondary school teacher the Saturday job at Willow became vacant and I couldn’t resist applying for it. I enjoy meeting the customers and listening to their specific needs and coming up with an idea for their shoe challenge. I particularly love helping teenage girls who feel self-conscious about their feet.

My shoe size and height...

I wear size 43/44 shoes (narrow) and I am 179 cm tall.

My personal style is...

My fashion style is practical, unfussy and classic lines. I tend to wear bright, solid colours rather than patterns and don’t go for frills and ribbons. I love colour and seldom wear all black.

My favourite shoe brands at Willow Shoes are...

Moda di Fausto, Hogl and Everybody. I have a good range of Semler shoes which suit my narrow feet, as well as Romika and Eject shoes.

The pair of shoes I just can’t part with

I can’t throw out my gorgeous Bruno Magli shoes which I bought in about 1980 when I was living in London. They cost more than a week’s wages but I never regretted it. I can’t wear them now but I cannot throw them out.

The best café is...

A café I enjoy is Rata at Zealandia just down the road. As well as having good coffee you can look over the lovely regenerating valley and listen to the native birds which are coming back to the city.

A book I couldn’t put down...

"Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” by Stieg Larsson. I started reading it at 6am one morning and didn’t get out of bed until I finished it – riveting.

Something that really makes me crazy...

Something which makes me crazy is inconsiderate people, for example people who are habitually late, or people who talk during movies and I loathe bullies.

My favourite way to chill out...

To go for a long walk in Zealandia or along Wellington’s lovely waterfront. I also love my garden, reading and I spend a criminal amount of time doing cryptic crosswords.

A great piece of advice for life is...

A great piece of advice for life is to be true to yourself, and "if it feels wrong, it is wrong” and appreciate every day.

A recipe I think everyone needs is Summer Fruit Cake...

I found this recipe in a supermarket magazine I picked up years ago. It is easy, delicious and tastes different every time depending on the fruit combination you use. Be warned though, it does need a good dollop of whipped cream and I tend to use a bit less sugar.

Summer Fruit Cake

- 1¼ cup self-raising flour

- ¾ cup sugar

- 120g butter, melted

- 1t vanilla

- 2 eggs

- 2 cups sliced apricots, peaches or plums or 410g can peaches, drained

- About 2 cups seasonal fruit (or frozen berries, sliced apple or banana)

- 2 tablespoons sugar

- 1 tablespoon cinnamon


Blend the flour and sugar together. Add the melted butter, vanilla and eggs. Pour the mixture into a greased, loose-bottomed 24cm cake tin.

Place the fruit on top of the cake, piling it up and pressing down a little. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar and bake at 180°C for one hour. You can substitute the seasonal fruit for another can of drained fruit, such as pears, if desired. Serve warm with a mixture of whipped cream and unsweetened plain yoghurt.

 

The store I work in and when I started at Willow...

I work in the Christchurch store. I have been here for just on a year now. Having recently shifted from Dunedin to look after my two little grandsons through the week, I wanted to do something just for me, that I would love, and to be with adults! I grew up having to wear shoes that were usually too small and/or my brother’s shoes, so it is a real pleasure to be able to offer these gorgeous shoes to the people who come into this shop – I love coming in every Saturday.

My shoe size and height...

I wear shoe size 46 and I’m 178cm tall.

My personal style is...

Eclectic – I have always enjoyed fashion and look forward to seeing what’s coming every season. When in Dunedin I never missed an ID fashion show. I learnt to knit and sew very early on, as I like things a bit different. Being tall, in the ‘60s I had to either create clothes myself (the mini was in), or add bits and pieces to bought items.

My favourite brand of Shoes at Willow is...

Papucei as they are quite different and interesting to look at.

A pair of shoes I just can’t throw out...

My Amber Rossi ballet flats. I call them my chrysanthemum shoes, as they have a big flower on the front of them, the middle has fallen out and I have had to add something to cover the staple! I remember coming up from Dunedin and, as always, made a trip to Willow Shoes. I probably tried on all the shoes that fit me in the shop and was debating which ones I wanted – you know how it goes – should I take the ones I need or the ones I love? Husband said, take all three!!

The best café I know is...

Since moving here I love exploring the huge range of cafes with the family - it is hard to pick a favourite at the moment. In summer it is good to go to one with a garden setting (of which Christchurch has many), or out to Sumner to sit by the sea. There are cafes popping up all the time, so there is a never ending choice and many of them are very good.

A book I couldn’t put down...

Child 44, set in 1950’s Russia, this was the first book Tom Smith wrote and is the first in a trilogy.

Something that really makes me crazy...

Trying to choose what to plant in my flower garden each spring. I love flowers and try to fit in as many different varieties as space allows in the amazing 13 metre garden box my husband built for me.

My favourite way to chill out...

To dine out with family and friends and/or listen to music i.e. Brownie McGhee or BB King singing the blues (my favourite).

A great piece of advice for life is...

This too will pass - focus on the positive, practice thankfulness.

A recipe I think everyone needs... is a thick comforting winter soup.

Pumpkin & Black Bean Soup

- 1kg Pumpkin

- 390g can Black Beans (I use Kidney Beans as I always have them in the cupboard)

- 1 x 400g can Tomatoes

- 50 g Butter

- 1 Onion

- 1 Leek

- 4 cloves Garlic

- 1 ½ Tablespoons Cumin

- 1 Tablespoon Coriander

- Pinch of Chilli

- ½ teaspoon Black Pepper

- 4 cups Beef Stock

- 2 to 3 Tablespoons Wine or Sherry Vinegar

- Sour Cream


Melt butter and sauté onion, leek (chopped up), garlic, chilli, cumin, and coriander.

Dice pumpkin and cook till soft (can use microwave) then add beans and tomatoes and mash with a potato masher so texture is coarse and chunky, then and add to above ingredients.

Add beef stock and pepper and bring to the boil, simmer for a while.

Just before serving, add vinegar

Serve with a dollop of Sour Cream.


This recipe can be adapted to replace a meal by adding chorizo sausage and other vegetables, such as sliced cabbage and/or chick peas.

 

The store I work in and when I started at Willow...

I started working with Willow Shoes when the Wellington store opened in 2006. A lot of things have changed since then! Christchurch and Hamilton stores followed and the online store opened! I now work from home with a laptop and a phone as my "mobile office”. I really enjoy visiting the stores and occasionally working the shop floor – there’s nothing quite like it.

The best part of my job...

There are several different aspects to my work and I enjoy them all. I work with a dedicated team of people who are all passionate about what they do – it makes work fun and easy. Writing for the website is interesting. Flexibility is important – I’ve been known to work some peculiar hours and in some unusual locations!

My shoe size and height...

My feet are size 10.5 and I’m about 175cm tall – I’m rather short among Willow women!

My personal style is...

Tailored, classic and natural are words that best describe the things in my wardrobe. I care that my clothes have been made with care – for the maker, for the environment and for the future. Wool and silk are particular favourites. Colour is also important – it’s true that anybody can wear any colour but some shades and patterns suit each of us better than others.

My favourite brands at Willow...

Over the years the range and number of shoe brands at Willow has vastly increased and improved. I’m always impressed by Clarus (Italy), Josef Seibel (Portugal) and Amber Rossi (Italy). Pinto di Blu is another real stand-out.

The pair of shoes I just can’t part with ...

There’s more than one pair! I still have the very first pair of Willow shoes I bought back in the shoe tour days – the shopping experience was a major factor in wanting to work at Willow Shoes. It’s not just that the shoes seemed made for my feet; it was the friendly service and the smiling faces that made a memorable experience. I also have some rather special JB Martin big buckle ballet flats that were enormously popular – I still love them and I can’t fault them.

The best café is...

The one serving great coffee by friendly staff.

A book I couldn’t put down...

I usually have a few books on the go. Lately I’ve read ‘Highest duty’ by the pilot who safely landed a plane in the Hudson River in 2009. I followed up with ‘QF32’ that tells the story of the safe landing of an Airbus A380 at Singapore airport in 2010. ‘Scandinavian Modern’ is never far from my fingertips – it’s full of inspiration and classic design.

Something that really makes me crazy...

I’m a bit of a stickler for time; I don’t like being late.

My favourite way to chill out...

I always enjoy swimming and reading. Travelling to new places is always refreshing..

A great piece of advice for life is...

Don’t sweat the small stuff – it’s all small stuff.

It’ll be alright in the end – if it’s not all right, it’s not the end.

A recipe everyone needs is … Muesli

Cooking is not really my thing – I much prefer to eat food than prepare it! However I do like fresh, simple, local food - preferably cooked by someone else! Without breakfast I get a bit hangry so I like to breakfast like a king! There is always homemade muesli in the pantry. It’s an ideal tummy filler – I’ve been making this easy-peasy recipe for years.

Muesli

In a large roasting pan, heat:

- 4 tblsp olive oil

- 4 tblsp honey

Mix in:

- 4 cups rolled oats

- 1 cup wheatgerm

- 1 cup dessicated coconut

- 1 cup bran flakes


Cook at 180C for about 20 minutes, turning regularly. Remove it sooner if you like your muesli chewy and au natural. Leave in longer if you like your muesli crunchy and toasted.

You can add other ingredients like sultanas and dried apricots but I prefer to add these uncooked after cooking (so they don’t go hard or leathery). Better still, leave these as optional extras on the side so you can add them to your bowl depending on your appetite.

Serve with yoghurt (Del Winkel or The Collective are my favourites), chopped banana, stewed apple or frozen berries.

Easy and delicious!

 

The store I work in and when I started at Willow...

I've been with the Willow team since October 2015 working Saturdays in the Auckland store. I love being able to offer our customers a choice in style, colour and size which puts a smile on their faces.

My shoe size and height...

My shoe size is 12 narrow and I'm 1.8m tall.

My personal style is...

My fashion style is fairly classic in bold colours, but I'm trying to soften the image. I like to accessorise with jewellery and I love winter when I can add a scarf.

My favourite brands at Willow...

This season I'm wearing Bresley and Frankie4. I love the metallic look of Bresley this season. The Frankie4 range is soooooo comfortable when you are on your feet all day. So pleased I have a pair as they are rushing out the door.

The pair of shoes I just can’t part with ...

My Hogl blue suede boots that must be a good six years old. Hogl boots and shoes are really good for the narrow foot.

The best café is...

La Vista in St Heliers – it’s more a restaurant than café but you can go any time for a coffee or more. Nothing better on a Friday night than a glass of wine and tapas.

A book I couldn’t put down...

Anything from David Baldacci - great thriller writer.

Something that really makes me crazy...

The teenage son who can't seem to find the dishwasher.

My favourite way to chill out...

A needle and thread. I love quilting and needle work and was lucky enough to recently visit Lancaster USA and see the Amish ladies quilting. If I need a break from that a walk along a beach helps the sole.

A great piece of advice for life is...

One that I'm working through myself now is "as one door closes another opens".

A recipe everyone needs is … Lemon Syrup Cake

Yes I know sugar isn't good for you but sometimes you just need to treat yourself. This cake doesn't last long in my house.

Lemon Syrup Cake

Cream together:

- 250gms Butter

- 1 ½ cups Castor Sugar


Add 2 tablespoons grated lemon rind and 2 eggs.

Add ¾ cup Milk along with

- 2 cups flour

- 1 ½ teaspoons Baking Powder

- ½ teaspoon Baking Soda


Bake at 180 degrees for 45 mins or longer - Depends on what size tin you use


Syrup:

¾ cup Lemon Juice and ¾ cup Sugar. Boil until sugar is dissolved and pour over hot cake.

The store I work in and when I started at Willow...

Hi, I’m Jill! I work in the Hamilton store. I started in June 2016. I moved to Hamilton from the Highlands of Scotland in August 2015 although I’m originally from the south of England. It took me less than a month to find Willow Shoes and I bought a couple of pairs on my first visit!

My shoe size and height...

My shoes size is 11 (ish). I’ve got a really narrow foot and my left is bigger than the right so there are a number of challenges, but it’s just great to be able to try different styles and brands at Willow and find something feminine that really fits.

My personal style is...

My fashion style is anything and everything goes. I love clothes, dressing up, dressing down, being creative and most of all, shopping. People who know me well know I have an excessively large wardrobe and I can shop anywhere. I’ve lived in quite a few different places but I’ve never been able to master the art of travelling light - in fact, I still have clothes items I’ve owned for 25 years.

My favourite shoe brands at Willow...

Frankie4 - without a doubt the most comfortable shoes I have ever owned and they’re so versatile. I also love Moda di Fausto. I’m a sucker for Italian leather and design (and I’m not a cheap date!).

A pair of shoes I just can’t throw out...

Some colourful suede Nike basketball boots I bought in New York about 8 years ago. They make me feel like I’m still just a teenager every time I wear them.

The best café is...

Hayes Common on Jellicoe Drive in Hamilton East. They open late Wed to Sat which means you can get a coffee after 3pm and there’s also a dinner menu - it’s right near my house so I can enjoy a glass of wine and walk home. Perfect.

A book I couldn’t put down...

"Fall on your knees” by Anne-Marie MacDonald. Set initially in Canada, it’s an extraordinary novel about family histories and relationships, the journeys we make in life, with some great characters and dark twists to the story.

Something that really makes me crazy...

Rude and aggressive drivers; there’s just no need for it.

My favourite way to chill out...

Oh there are so many ways! Lying on a beach in the sunshine, listening to some good tunes or spending time with people I love and who make me laugh.

A great piece of advice for life is...

"Don’t take it too seriously” and "Laughter is the best medicine”. Ok so that was 2, but they are both my mantras.

A recipe I think everyone needs ... Yotam Ottolenghi’s Muhummara.

It’s a delicious Middle Eastern dip and is simple to prepare. You just need to source the pomegranate molasses…

Yotam Ottolenghi’s Muhummara

- 3 red peppers

- 50g fresh breadcrumbs

- ½ tbsp lemon juice

- 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses

- 1½ tsp ground cumin

- 1 tbsp dried chilli flakes

- 1 small garlic clove, peeled and crushed

- 50g walnuts, finely chopped by hand

- 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to finish

- Salt


Heat the oven to 200C. Put the peppers on a tray and roast for 30-35 minutes, turning occasionally, until they are cooked and the skin is blackened. Put the peppers in a bowl, cover with Gladwrap and, once cool enough to handle, peel and discard the skin and seeds.

Pat the peppers dry, and place in a mortar. Add the breadcrumbs, lemon juice, molasses, cumin, chilli and garlic. Work this with a pestle until well combined, but not so much that the peppers no longer have a noticeable texture.

Stir through the walnuts, a quarter-teaspoon of salt and the olive oil. Add more pomegranate molasses and salt to taste – you want the flavours to be pretty intense. Spoon the dip into a shallow bowl, using the back of a spoon to give it a wavy texture, and drizzle with a little olive oil. Serve at room temperature.