Beyond the Pale

The Great UK Snow vs Wellies Debate of 2010

I am currently in need of some proper wellies. By proper, I mean boots that are actually comfortable to wear, offer a modicum of protection against the cold, are waterproof (obviously) and – this is my greatest requirement – have grippy soles that mean less chance of falling flat on my face.

The wellies I currently have belong, really, to my mother. She has tiny, delicate feet but said they “come up very large” so should be alright for me. Reader, they are not alright by any means.

I feel as though I’m some sort of geisha whilst wearing them. This presents a glamourous image in your head, no doubt. Disavow yourself of it immediately, for I mean the bound-feet screaming agony kind of a look. Not good.

I should admit to being possibly one of the most clumsy people you will ever meet – if there is a hole, I will fall in it. If there is a tiny, insignificant bump in the road, I will trip headlong over it. If there is a patch of ice, I will find it unerringly. I will walk on it with all the grace of Bambi, and I will make a fool of myself over and over again. It’s a public service I offer free of charge.

Frog Lane, Tunbridge Wells by anke

The amount of snow before Christmas, and now again waging war throughout the UK (although frankly, a mere smattering of snow means the entire country grinds to a halt without fail every single year!) means I am in the market for proper wellies and this, my dears, sets me something of a dilemma…

Black Gloss Hunter Wellies

I have always fancied a pair of Hunters. They look quite cool and apparently Do The Job. But, having posed the question on my Facebook – my peers have further confused me, by suggesting other brands, by pitching their tents vehemently in the For or Against Hunter-Wellies groups.

The Guardian recently did a guide to wellies, and they suggested Lowthers (made by Hunter but significantly cheaper, though less lust-worthy to look at) are a very good entry level welly. Hmm.

Lowthers (shown in navy blue)

Others proclaim that Aigle wellies are the ones I should get. I have read so many completely contradictory reviews online that my head hurts and I am starting to think the best option is just never to leave the house again.

Aigle Parcours

Oh, which to get? I am so confused!

Anyway, whichever wellies I decide on, it is certain I shall need welly-warmers & thick socks, too. My feet are like blocks off ice at the best of times!

Whilst we’re at it, here’s a lovely selection of winter warmers to snuggle up with…

Direct links to items shown, left to right:

1st Row: 1) Laine Design, 2) Nortique, 3) Those Alaskan Girls

2nd Row: 1) Celapiu, 2) Manual Ornaments, 3) Studio Cybele

3rd Row: 1) Ing00te, 2) Pretty Printing, 3) Sunshine Boy

4th Row: 1) Fringe Element, 2) Pavalu, 3) The Fuchsia Fleece

Whilst perusing the above list of snugglabilities (not an actual word, but hey-ho) I have been tucking in to the warming and wonderful (even if I do say so myself) Jambalaya I made earlier today. I’ve used this BBC recipe before, and the be-ringleted fiance confirms that it’s now one of his favourite meals.


8 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 mixed peppers, chopped
2 tbsp garlic, crushed
4 links chorizo sausage, chopped
450g/1 lb chicken pieces, on or off the bone
2 Scotch Bonnet or other hot chilli peppers, 1 red, 1 yellow, chopped
500g/1 lb 1oz easy-cook American-style rice
1 tsp chilli powder
2 tbsp turmeric
2 tbsp Cajun spices
2 pints chicken stock or water
mixed vegetables, such as carrots, peas, green beans, sprouts, courgettes, chopped (frozen vegetables will suffice)
450g/1 lb king prawns or crayfish
salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Heat the olive oil in a large pan and add the onion, mixed peppers, garlic, chorizo and chicken pieces. Cook for about ten minutes.
2. Add the chilli peppers. These are very hot so be careful how many you add. When handling them, take care if you have any cuts as they will really hurt.
3. Add the rice and stir well. Add the chilli powder, turmeric and Cajun spices and mix in so the rice is well coated with the flavours.
4. Add the chicken stock or water and bring to a simmer.
5. Add the mixed vegetables and bring to the boil then turn the heat down to a simmer.
6. Once the rice has swollen and is part-cooked, add the prawns or crayfish.
7. Simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour. Taste for seasoning and add salt and freshly ground black pepper and more spices, depending on your personal taste.
8. Serve.

I should add that I preferred the slightly drier texture I got last time, when I transferred the whole lot to an oven-proof casserole dish with lid and bunged it in the oven for a couple of hours. It seemed to further intensify the flavours and prevent anything from over-cooking. Either way, it’s a definite winner in our household. 🙂

Stay warm, dear hearts, oh and because I don’t think I have said it yet on my blog – Happy New Year!

Kindest regards,

Miss Nightingale



2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I wonder if it would work to buy some ‘normal’ wellies then polish them up with latex polish or rubber restorer for rubber clothing.

Comment by Kriss

I have a pair of Xtratufs and a pair of Barbour weillies, which are reportedly made by Hunter. While I will wear the Barbours with almost anything including skirts and dresses to work, the Xtratufs are without a doubt the most comfortable. There is a time and a place for each but if you tell me that I could only have one pair of rubber boots, they would be the Xtratufs without a doubt.

Comment by Julie M.

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