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 focused 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...(that's me - second from the left in the photo) 

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 a twist - shoes (of course), scarves and jewellery. I love fashion and colour and always like to add something new every season. These days it starts with the shoes and I go from there. I love black and think everyone needs a pair of Black Satin Pants in their wardrobe…tall women really suit these. A favourite look is to bring funky casual shoes into my work style and I love wearing mainly black and then full on shoes that people can't help looking at!

My favourite shoes brands at Willow Shoes are...

FRANKiE4Papucei, Minx and Moda di Fausto.

Shoes I can’t throw out...


Naturally a tough one for me...and 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...

A new and hidden treasure in Masterton (yes, you read that right!)...The Screening Room…an art house cinema with the most amazing fresh interesting food for miles.

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 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 started working in the Christchurch store at the end of June 2019.

My shoe size and height..

My shoe size is 10 or 11 and I am 5'8".

My personal style is...

My style is really whatever I want to wear and what I feel comfortable wearing!

The best café is...

The best café is Coffee Culture.

My favourite shoe brand at Willow Shoes is...

Bresley

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

at the moment are my Bresley’s SS19 224 Mustard and also the orange.

Something that really makes me crazy...

...dirty dishes on the bench!

My favourite way to chill out...

...having coffee with friends.

Books I couldn't put down...

Anthony Horiwitz, Alex Ryder series and Power of Five series.

A great piece of advice for life is...

Live for today, tomorrow never comes.

A recipe everyone needs is...

Pavlova!

Pavlova

8 egg whites

12 oz sugar (using half sugar and half sweetener makes the middle a bit chewy)

Pinch of cream of tartar

1 dspn cornflour

1 tbsp cold water

1 tsp vanilla essence

1tsp malt vinegar

Separate egg whites and yolks (you can not get any yolk in the whites or they won’t stiffen), beat egg whites with cream of tartar until super stiff, gradually add sugar and mix well.  Stop beater add cornflour, then water, vanilla and malt vinegar and mix until combined.

IMPORTANT - Preheat your oven on 250 deg, turn your mixture onto grease proof paper (or I use normal baking paper and wet both sides with water) when you’ve put your mixture on the paper (on an oven tray of course), put in the oven and turn your oven off.  It needs to be left for more than 1 hour.

 

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

I have worked in the Christchurch Store since October 2017. It's a privilege to work here and help women find shoes that fit them from our fabulous range.

My shoe size and height...

My shoe size is 12 (European 44) and I am 186cm tall.

My personal style is...

I'm not sure I have a personal style - I love clothes and all things fashion - smart casual would probably sum it up.

The best café is...

Following the Christchurch earthquakes, dozens of cafes popped up all over the city during the rebuild. A few of my favourites are Origin Coffee, Coffee Lovers and Arbo - I could go on.

My favourite shoe brands at Willow Shoes are...

So hard to narrow this one down - BresleyMinxPapucei and Pinto di Blu,are all favourites.

The pair of shoes I just can’t part with

Since I discovered Willow Shoes, and shoes that fit me properly, I can't part with any of them! 

A book I just couldn't put down...

I'm not a compulsive reader so it's got to be a great read to reach the 'I couldn't put it down'category but Wild Swans by Jung Chang was definitely up there.

My favourite way to chill out...

Hanging out with my family for a games or movie night is always fun. I also enjoy gardening, running and coffee. 

A great piece of advice for life is...

Don't put things down, put them away! There's a place for everything, and everything in its place. Thanks Mum!

A recipe everyone needs is...

Healthy Caramel Slice AKA Crack, As addictive as crack, but totally Legal AND completely yum!

 

Healthy Caramel Slice AKA Crack

cook: 30 mins | inactive: 30 mins | total: 60 mins | yield: 16 pieces

Ingredients:

4 full size Salada (saltine) biscuits, a total of 16 squares

¼ cup rice malt syrup or real maple syrup

3 tbs of butter or coconut oil if you are vegan

2 tbs almond butter

½ tsp vanilla essence or vanilla powder

Pinch salt

100g of 85% cacao or above dark chocolate (if you are vegan, double check that it is dairy free)

¼ cup peanuts

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 160C and line a brownie tin with aluminium foil and then baking paper.

2. Arrange the Salada biscuits in the bottom of the tin so the entire surface is covered.

3. In a small saucepan melt the coconut oil/butter, rice malt syrup and almond butter and whisk until it becomes a caramel colour and thickens (about 3-4 minutes).

4. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and salt. Pour the caramel over the Salada biscuits and bake in the oven for 5 minutes until the caramel starts to bubble again. Meanwhile, roughly cut the chocolate into small pieces and crush the peanuts by placing them in a knotted plastic bag and pounding them with something heavy like a meat tenderiser. Remembering to keep an eye on the oven.

5. Remove the tin from the oven and scatter the chocolate pieces over the top of the caramel. Let it sit for 5 minutes and when the chocolate starts to melt, use a spoon or spatula to spread the chocolate over the top of the caramel then sprinkle with peanuts.

6. Place the tin in the freezer for 30 minutes or until the chocolate has set. Break into 16 pieces and store in an airtight container in the fridge- if you don't eat it all first!

 

Have you thought about joining the Willow team? 

Now could be the perfect time! This could be your profile telling us how you came to be a part of Willow Shoes! We might have the perfect fit for you right now...and we don't just mean shoes! Click here to see if we have any positions available. 
 
The store I work in and when I started at Willow...

It starts with a pair of long feet...grows into a love of long shoes...and blossoms into working here at your favourite store!

My shoe size and height... 

Your feet are longer than average...and you're probably taller than average too. Let's face it, there's nothing average at Willow Shoes!

My personal style is... 

We all enjoy our own sense of style and creating new looks with our fabulous long shoes - we also love sharing our tips and tricks!

The best café is...

Mmmmm...it depends where you are and what you're craving!

My favourite shoe brands at Willow Shoes are... 

The ones that make us look and feel fabulous. 

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

The pair we're wearing today!

Something that really makes me crazy...

New Arrivals and Sales!

My favourite way to chill out... 

Talking about shoes and making women look and feel great.

A great piece of advice for life is...

Have some fun!

A recipe everyone needs is... 

We're looking forward to you sharing one with us...

Feeling tempted?

Click the link above to see if we have any positions available. 



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 work in the Hamilton store where I started at the end of August 2018. 

My shoe size and height...

I wear size 11 shoes. Having wide feet and a high arch means it’s sometimes a challenge to fit my feet. I am about 6’ tall – it’s in the genes!

My personal style is...

I’m not sure I have one particular style - I like to wear tailored, dressy casual and at times just plain old casual.  

My favourite shoe brands at Willow Shoes are...

Supersoft suit my feet, and Bresley are a good fit and not too high for me. There are so many beautiful shoes to choose from.

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

I find it hard to part with any of them, but sometimes you just have to do it.

The best café is... 

Scotts Epicurean in Hamilton - while I am not a coffee connoisseur they do make great coffee and the food is great too. 

A book I couldn’t put down...

I recently read The Nowhere Child, a fabulous read and one I found hard to put down.

Something that really makes me crazy...

Habitual late comers drive me nuts. I don’t like being late because everyone’s time is important.

My favourite way to chill out...

... is being out in the garden, or parked up on the sofa with a good book. While I sometimes don’t read a lot of books, I am an avid reader of Mindfood magazine so relish an afternoon to do just that. 

A great piece of advice for life is...

Do what you love and love what you do - life is after all a journey so best to enjoy it!

A recipe I think everyone needs is ... my sister’s Weetbix slice; it's easy and as a chocolate lover thought it was quite tasty. I'd consider adding some raisins and/or some crushed nuts to the mix.


Weetbix Slice

4 Weetbix crushed

1 cup fine coconut

1 cup flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 cup cocoa

1/2 cup sugar

180g butter


Place all dry ingredients in a bowl.
Melt butter and add to the dry ingredients.
Press well into a slice tray.
Bake at 180C for 25 minutes.
When cooled, ice with chocolate.

 

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

I started as the ‘Saturday girl’ at Willow Shoes in Wellington in September 2014 but now do Fridays as well. 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 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, Bueno and Pinto di Blu.

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...

"All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr. A really good read. 

Something that really makes me crazy...

Bullies...I hate them.

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...

Be true to yourself.

A recipe I think everyone needs is Tuscan style chicken with tomatoes, olives and balsamic...

This is a great recipe if you’ve got a crowd coming round. I tend to use a bit less liquid and cook for much longer than the 40 minutes so the meat falls off the bone and the onions are caramelized. 
Serve with a bowl of crisp salad leaves and plenty of crusty bread to soak up the juices.

Tuscan style chicken with tomatoes, olives and balsamic

Serves 6-8 

About 8 whole chicken legs (thigh and drum) or 12 chicken thigh cutlets (bone in, skin on)

2x400g cans cherry tomatoes (or canned Italian plum tomatoes)

About 350ml (or half bottle) of dry white wine

3 cloves garlic, sliced

Handful each of fresh thyme and oregano

2 medium onions, cut into wedges

6-8 slices dry cured, streaky bacon

Olive oil, for drizzling

1 heaped tablespoon soft brown sugar

3/4 cup Kalamata olives

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 190°C fanbake. Place all the chicken pieces in a large ovenproof dish, skin-side up. Pour over the tomatoes and wine and add garlic, herbs and onions. Poke in bacon rashers around the chicken pieces. Drizzle the exposed chicken skin with olive oil and sprinkle with brown sugar (I use dark brown sugar for a richer caramel flavour). Season with salt and pepper. Cook for around 15 minutes. Turn chicken pieces and bake for a further 15 minutes; make sure all the meat gets a chance to poach in the liquid. Turn again and continue to cook until the chicken thighs are beginning to brown and the juices run clear when tested with a sharp knife. The total cooking time is approximately 40 (+) minutes. Remove from the oven and stir in the olives and balsamic vinegar (I use a bit less than the recipe) while it’s still hot.

Serve with plenty of crusty white bread and a simple green salad.



The store I work iSn 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.

 

When I started at Willow...

...in 2006, Georgie was opening the Wellington store! I enjoy working with Willow Shoes - these days my work is behind the scenes. I occasionally work the shop floor; there’s nothing quite like it - the thrill of helping someone choose the perfect pair never goes away.

The best part of my job...

...is being part of a New Zealand business that's making a difference for women with long feet...and the shoes are great!

My shoe size and height...

My feet are size 10.5 and I’m 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 us better than others.

My favourite brands at Willow...

Over the years the number of shoe brands, and the range of styles, at Willow Shoes has vastly increased and improved. Clarus (Italy) and Amber Rossi (Italy) never fail to impress but Frankie4 (Australia) and Pinto di Blu (Portugal) are more recent additions that are also real stand-outs.

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

I still have my first pair of Willow shoes from the shoe tour days – they are the reason I joined the Willow Shoes team. 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...

‘Scandinavian Modern’ is never far from my fingertips – it’s full of inspiration and classic Nordic 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 love to swim.

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 prefer eating than cooking. Like most people I enjoy fresh, simple, local food.
There's always muesli in the pantry. I’ve been making this easy-peasy Alison Holst 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...

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.

 
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