Our upcoming East Coast USA trip is approaching quickly off the starboard bow and it's time to put all those "I must get around to..." thoughts about preparations into actual action.
One important aspect to take into account when you're travelling is obviously the weather at your intended destination. You don't want to rock up at the South Pole with only a bikini and a sarong in your suitcase. So bearing in mind there are currently minus temperatures and snow in the cities we're off to visit... yeah, that.
Of course, being me, I don't take these things lightly. Warnings to "wear layers" and "bring shoes with good grip" are not sufficient. It's not so much that I don't like cold weather, but I figure if you possibly can get around outdoors without getting hypothermia or breaking your leg, you might as well try your darndest!
It also doesn't help that I'm petrified of ice (because, you don't understand, I will fall - it is a matter of when, not if) and I figure if I'm going to end up on my ass on the cold, wet ground, I want as much padding as possible for my landing.
And so, I have been spending my Christmas money on clothing that will keep the heat in and the cold out. Oh yes, American winter, I am going to be ready for you!
I have some new items in my wardrobe now. Shall I share them with you?
First up, we have these rather frightening-looking contraptions, which attach to the soles of your shoes and will allegedly stop me slipping on icy surfaces (like, y'know, ice).
I'm no scientist and so I was dubious about how studs made of metal (which is fairly slippery) would grip ice (also slippery) so I had a go at attaching them to my shoes and giving them a test run in the kitchen. Judging from the small dents now in the lino they seem to work pretty well actually. Oops.
Next up, also footwear related, are these gorgeous, delicate little boots.
They're somewhat reminiscent of Moon Boots, oh so popular back in the 70s and 80s (the decades perhaps most renowned for forward-thinking in the world of fashion). Let's face it, they ain't pretty, but then neither are Ugg Boots and yet those have taken over the world. And at least these are waterproof. Bring it, snow!
Then there is my favourite pneumonia-preventing purchase. I'd read advice from locals in our destination cities that when it gets cold there, your coat should be as long as possible, definitely covering your kidneys and preferably down to at least mid-thigh. Never one to do things by halves, I set out to find the longest coat possible... not an easy task when you're a female who is almost 5' 10" - what is mid-thigh length on a "normal" woman barely skims my hips.
But then, there it was!
Essentially what I have bought is a sleeping bag with sleeves. I toyed with names for it: you know, how a blanket with sleeves is a "Slanket", etc... I tried combining "sleeves" and "bag" but it didn't quite give the right impression (*ahem*), so I have instead opted for "Sloat" ("sleeves" and "coat"), which sounds like some kind of unfortunate woodland creature, but according to Google can actually be a type of rock pool or some kind of timber slat. Who knew?
Still: Sloat it is. Sloat and I have already had a test run together down to the supermarket and its only temperature-related disadvantage was to make the uncovered bits of me feel colder by comparison, so I figure if I get a good pair of gloves and wear one of my many scarves, I should be sorted.
I also saw the following in Paperchase's sale the other day and felt compelled to buy it too.
I don't think a cookie-shaped luggage tag will keep me particularly warm, but when I see that weird little moustachioed biscuit coming at me on the baggage carousel, it will make me smile... and also distinguish it from anyone else who bought the same bright pink and purple suitcase from M&S a couple of years ago. That is, unless they also bought the same luggage tag, in which we shall join forces and unleash our combined strange and wonderful powers of randomness upon the world. Be afraid!