best Monday morning news…EVER

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I thought I’d let the picture do the talking there! Yes, from today and until the end of the month, you can get 15% off at the wonderful English shoe brand Northern Cobbler. I LOVE Northern Cobbler shoes. The brand manages to have a sense of humour – it’s not that the shoes are actually funny or anything, but they’re quirky (every style is named after a type of fish!) and beautifully made in Portugal and England.

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I recently got me a pair of ‘Squawfish’ in white to wear to my brother’s wedding, and they are available in this lovely two-tone option as well. I can confirm that they are incredibly comfortable, with a very smart leather sole that is still really flexible, particularly for a formal shoe.

Squawfish, £230, £xx with EnBrogue discount, northerncobbler.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Squawfish, £230 – £195.90 with EnBrogue discount – northerncobbler.com (BUY ME HERE!)

I also love ‘Nibblefish’ – this closed toe sandal – not just for the brilliant name but because I find this style of shoe so versatile. It comes in white as well as the navy shown here.

Nibblefish, £210, £178.50 with EnBrogue discount, northerncobbler.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Nibblefish, £210 – £178.50 with EnBrogue discount – northerncobbler.com (BUY ME HERE!)

There’s the classic tassel loafer – ‘Pilchard’ – perfect for the coming months in this lovely summery white…and if you want some sandals, the ‘Platy’, available in navy or white, is totally on trend for this season.

Pilchard, £190 - £161.50 with EnBrogue discount - northerncobbler.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Pilchard, £190 – £161.50 with EnBrogue discount – northerncobbler.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Platy, £185 - £157.25 with EnBrogue discount - northerncobbler.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Platy, £185 – £157.25 with EnBrogue discount – northerncobbler.com (BUY ME HERE!)

To get your 15% discount, simply enter the code ENB15 at checkout. It works for boys too, so if there’s a Mr Brogue in your life who needs a new pair of shoes, tell him about it too. Happy shopping – and send me pictures of what you bought!

playing dress-up with Donna Ida Denim

An unusual post for me, this, in that you can see my face in some of the pictures! And also that I’m talking about something other than flat shoes (well, AS WELL as flat shoes, obvs): jeans.

En Brogue pretends to do a bit of modelling...jumper, £xx, by Leon & Harper Maben (BUY ME HERE!), jeans, £xx, by Frame Denim (BUY ME HERE!)
En Brogue pretends to do a bit of modelling…Maben jumper, £165, by Leon & Harper (BUY ME HERE!), Le Garcon jeans, £210, by Frame Denim (BUY ME HERE!). Rucksack and brogues are my own

Last week I was invited by Jean Queen Donna Ida to pop to her gorgeous store in Belgravia to try on some jeans and show how I style them up with flat shoes. If you don’t know about Donna Ida already, it’s a one-stop boutique stocking top quality denim, plus all the T-shirts, sweatshirts and jackets you could wish for to go with them. What I love about the store is that the edit is really tight, so there’s not an overwhelming amount to choose from but everything in there is really, REALLY nice.

Le Garcon jeans by Frame Denim and Emily brogues by Grenson
Le Garcon jeans by Frame Denim and Emily brogues by Grenson

This first pair of jeans are a slim-cut boyfriend by Frame. I really liked that they weren’t too baggy as a lot of boyfriend jeans swamp me, and they were the perfect match for my favourite Grenson Emily brogues, particularly when paired with this green printed Leon & Harper Meben jumper. I’m following my fail-safe rule for wearing jeans with flats here: always have a turn-up!

IDA Rizzo cords, £160 (BUY ME HERE!), Penelope Chilvers safari boots, £xx (BUY ME HERE!)
IDA Rizzo cords, £160 (BUY ME HERE!). Penelope Chilvers safari boots, £249 (BUY ME HERE!) are my own.

Donna Ida stocks all sorts of brands, but she has her own line as well called IDA. My favourites are the style called Rizzo, a skinny style with a high waist, which I think is much more flattering than a low-slung jean. They come in all sorts of colours, including the white I am wearing here (below) and my favourites, the light purple cords (above). Mega stretchy and really comfortable. This time I’ve gone for a double turn-up as I like a healthy flash of ankle with my skinny jeans.

IDA Rizzo jeans, £160 (BUY ME HERE!), EnBrogue for Jemima Vine leopard slippers, £xx (xxx)
IDA Rizzo jeans, £160 (BUY ME HERE!). EnBrogue for Jemima Vine leopard slippers, £159 (BUY ME HERE!) are my own.

This pair (below) by J Brand, with their slightly slouchy style and mini pinstripe, looked so nice with my Northern Cobbler double monks that it was hard to leave them behind. Proportionally they worked well because they are slightly cropped, which is always good for showing off shoes. Look at my face – I’m so pleased to be wearing them!!

J Brand Aoki jeans, £xx (BUY ME HERE!), Roseanna Pharrell jacket, £xx (BUY ME HERE!), 360 Sweater, £125 (BUY ME HERE!), J Crew cap and Northern Cobbler monks (BUY ME HERE!) are my own
J Brand Aoki jeans, £230 (BUY ME HERE!), Roseanna Pharrell jacket, £445 (BUY ME HERE!), 360 Sweater, £125 (BUY ME HERE!). Northern Cobbler monks, £230 (BUY ME HERE!) and J Crew cap are my own

I couldn’t do a styling post without wearing my beloved Birkenstocks, and when I saw these tie-dye effect jeans from IRO, I knew they were the perfect match. And how funny is this sweater by IDA? A play on that famous John Lewis slogan.

IRO jeans, £xx (BUY ME HERE), IDA sweater, £xx (BUY ME HERE!), Birkenstocks, £xx (BUY ME HERE!) and Hardy Amies sunglasses are my own
IRO Aden jeans, £225 (BUY ME HERE), IDA sweater, £95 (BUY ME HERE!). Birkenstocks, £64.95 (BUY ME HERE!) and Hardy Amies sunglasses are my own

To see my guest post on the Donna Ida website (and a few more pictures!), click here.

Herbaceous borders, helicopters and hot stamped sandals: it’s this week’s shoes headlines

Chelsea Flower Shoes

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bloomin’ marvellous!

 

I have loved the Chelsea Flower Show ever since I was off sick about twelve years ago and realised that watching this most British of institutions on TV made me feel much better. There’s something so comforting about these people who are so passionate about plants and landscaping, and seeing those beautiful gardens, too. Plus it gets me all inspired for, like, about two days, about my own garden (which is currently fighting a losing battle with snails, ivy, and the neighbours’ cats – or more specifically, their poo). I’ve never actually been though, until this week, and it was wonderful! Of course, I celebrated the occasion by wearing appropriate footwear – these Liberty print Y.M.C. skate shoes from last summer. A few people asked me about them on Twitter and Instagram and unfortunately I can’t find evidence of them still being available, but I’ve found a few floral alternatives (below) that you might like. Oh, and how amazing are these brogue plant pots?! That’s my Christmas present sorted, Mr Brogue…

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best. flower pots. EVER.
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Givenchy skate shoes, £415 at harveynichols.com (BUY ME HERE!)
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Toms ditsy print, £41.99 at office.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)
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Vans in floral print, £60 at littlewoods.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)

 

Ancient Greek Sandals’ monogramming service

Last week I had tea with Christina and Nikolas, the founders of one of my favourite brands, Ancient Greek Sandals. I love these shoes for their authenticity; the leather and craftsmanship is so beautiful that they really could have been made in ancient Greece by an artisan cobbler. Christina and Nikolas were kind enough to give me a sneak preview of their new monogramming service, which will be available online from June 1st.

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my monogrammed Thais sandals

My favourite style for the service is Thais. The cross-over slide-style feels so current with this season’s trend for pool shoes, but being made of leather they will have far more longevity than some of the more “fashion” shoes made from man-made materials. I can imagine myself wearing them for decades to come and if they are anything like my other pairs, they will only get better with age (I even dropped one pair in a swimming pool but the leather was even nicer once they had dried off!). These ones are the natural leather colour, but they are available in twelve different shades including the yellow ones below. Head to ancient-greek-sandals.com next month to bag yourself a hot stamped personalised pair. It will be £5 for the first letter and £2 for each additional letter.

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Thais sandals, €145, ancient-greek-sandals.com (BUY ME HERE!)

 

Louis Vuitton cruise show in Monaco

Last weekend I was lucky enough to be flown out to Monaco (for work!!) to see the first ever Louis Vuitton cruise fashion show, designed by the wonderful Nicholas Ghesquiere. It was the perfect opportunity to debut my Havva sandals and I’m pleased to report that they are INCREDIBLY comfortable. They have a lovely squidgy insole (a little like you get with Clarks shoes) but they look and feel super-chic, not like a shoe that has necessarily been designed for comfort. Highly recommended from En Brogue – and look how much fun we had together!

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Athena sandals, £110, havvamustafa.com (BUY ME HERE!)

 

High street shoe of the week

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leather crossover sandals, £59.99, zara.com (BUY ME HERE!)

Something brilliant happened this week: my mum went all Marni on me. She’s a massive fan of Birkenstocks, but I never thought she would consider a pair of chunky jewelled sandals like these amazing ones from Zara – dead ringers for a Marni pair I tried on at Bicester Village a few weeks ago. Sadly, I couldn’t quite persuade her to buy them, but I’m hoping that writing about her on here will make her reconsider and she will get them! They’re a gorgeous shade of light grey and somehow those stones don’t look too bling. Go on mum, buy them! Before they sell out!

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so good they deserved a picture from another angle

 

 

 

Walsh trainers: Made in England

Imagine being so brilliant at making sports shoes that you are asked, aged just 16, to make the shoes for the British Olympic running team. That’s exactly what happened to Norman Walsh in 1948, who went on to found his eponymous brand in 1961. I admit, I didn’t know much about Walsh until last week when I visited an exhibition on the brand at the Fashion and Textile Museum in London, but now I’ve learnt all about it I want to share it with you. Because it makes really cool trainers, and they’re all made in England. And they’re even 100% vegan!

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me in my Walsh trainers

In a world where EVERYONE is wearing either New Balance or Nike Air Max, I’m so happy to have found a brand of trainers that will make me look a bit different from the pack. And because Walsh specialises in performance shoes, they are unbelievably comfortable as well. The exhibition – which is open until May 17th – was jam packed with archive shoes, including some very stylish running spikes that I would have loved to have worn in my days in the school athletics team (when I was 12 I was in the same relay team as Olympic bronze medallist heptathlete Kelly Sotherton – true random fact!). If you can’t make it to the exhibition, there’s plenty of lovely archive images on the website.

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a poster from the Walsh archives

Walsh still makes performance shoes, mostly for fell running and cross country, and Mr Brogue was particularly fond of these styles. I love the fabric – it’s like a thick felt on the blue and yellow style – and those chunky soles, which are obviously designed for running over rocky terrains, also happen to look great.

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PB racer, £70, normanwalshuk.com (BUY ME HERE!)
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PB Ultra, £70, normanwalshuk.com (BUY ME HERE!)
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Pb Elite X’Treme, £75, normanwalshuk.com (BUY ME HERE!)

The styles below are all from the casual range, which is a selection of great looking styles recreated from the archives. The Lostock was originally developed in 1985 and is named after the hilly area of Bolton it was frequently used in, and below that, the Pennine Adder was the first style to use the now famous V-Ripple sole in the 1960s (a detail that is very on trend right now – wonder where those other brands got the idea from?!). There are LOADS of different options too, and most of them are delicious retro-inspired colour combinations. Plus the prices are brilliant – you can pick up a pair for as little as £70. So if you’re after a new pair of trainers, don’t get sucked into those obvious brands. Go for something a bit different, and be proud to wear British!

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Lostock, £100, normanwalshuk.com (BUY ME HERE!)
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Pennine Adder, £105, normanwalshuk.com (BUY ME HERE!)

 

Skandi love

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Swedish Filippa K shoes and Danish Kanari chair

I am a big fan of all things Scandinavian. Mr Brogue and I have watched all the dramas – The Killing, Borgen, The Bridge (favourite) and now Mammon. Hey, we even watch the film Trollhunter (TROLL STENCH! That’s a private joke for the very few of you that will have watched that one). We’re slowly but surely building up a collection of Danish mid-century modern furniture; as I write this I’m leaning on a Hans Olsen table and sitting on its matching iconic tripod chair, which looks great but is a bit lethal at dinner parties after a couple glasses of wine (we’ve had a few topples!). And this love of Skandi style now extends to my shoe collection, as in the last couple of months I’ve discovered that shoes from brands like Filippa K (above) are amongst the most comfortable – and chic – I’ve ever put on my feet.

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Polly shoe, €255, filippa-k.com (BUY ME HERE) also at Liberty

 

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Elsy sandal, €255, filippa-k.com (BUY ME HERE!)

I love that the design of Skandi shoes seems to echo the aesthetic of the furniture that I love so much. For the most part, they’re extremely simple and streamlined, but there’s always an extra little touch that makes you totally fall in love with them. With the Filippa K shoes, it’s those perforated holes – a refreshing change from a brogue. The Vagabond trainers below are a classic running shoe style, but then that black woven fabric provides more interest than you’d get with a pair of New Balance (they’re also far more comfortable than New Balance but don’t tell anyone I said that!).

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Kasai trainers, £54.99, vagabond.com (BUY ME HERE!)
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Kasai trainers, £74.99, vagabond.com (BUY ME HERE!)
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Kasai trainers, £54.99, vagabond.com (BUY ME HERE!)

A brand you might not have heard of – I hadn’t – but that a Swedish friend tipped me off about is Minimarket. It doesn’t just sell shoes and the clothes are really cool too. I can’t vouch for their comfort as I haven’t tried a pair myself, but I love these cut out designs below, particularly the black slip-ons.

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Bugsy flat, £155, minimarket.se (BUY ME HERE!)
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cut out shoe, £200, minimarket.se (BUY ME HERE!)

And of course, you’ll recognise & Other Stories – sister brand to H&M – from the high street. I love this shop not only for shoes but its bags are GORGEOUS too, so well worth having a look if you haven’t already. All of these brands are Swedish but come next season be sure to check out Danish brand DAY Birger et Mikkelsen. It has sold out of its summer flats but I was lucky enough to attend the AW14 catwalk show in Copenhagen earlier this year (read about it here) and there were some lovely lace-ups that I’m looking forward to seeing on sale. Right, I’m off to visit the inlaws. “Tak” for reading!

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pointed toe loafer, £95, stories.com (BUY ME HERE!)
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leather slip ons, £45, stories.com (BUY ME HERE!)

My new shoe shelves

OK, so interior design isn’t strictly on the subject of shoes, unless you’ve designed your whole bedroom around shoe storage, like I have. Mr Brogue and I have just finished decorating and I’m thrilled with the shoe shelves he built for me.

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This little alcove was previously wasted space, as it’s too narrow for any furniture. The great thing is it’s right next to the bed, so I wake up in the morning and can decide what to wear before I even have to get up!

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Good shoe storage is genuinely hard to find but these shelves were quite easy to build, even on our crooked walls (it’s just painted MDF and some wood). I’ll leave you with a picture of my other favourite thing in the new room – the vintage Danish chair I sit on to put my shoes on!

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A sneak peek at next season Clarks

Yesterday I went to a press preview for Clarks’ AW14 collection. Now, I know plenty of you are Clarks fans already, but I reckon next season will convert any of you who are still dragging your heels. The designers seem to have been studying the catwalks as there’s a touch of high fashion in some of the designs…but of course, they won’t be expensive! Here are my favourites.

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These three styles are from the main collection. I love the bottle green colour of those geek shoes at the top, and I’m SO pleased the loafers have a new, slightly pointed toe.

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“Be still my beating heart” were the words that came out of my mouth when I saw this lot from Clarks Originals. The spotty desert boots at the top are the new collaboration with Patternity and you only have to wait until late July to buy them. I will be buying them! And those shoes! It’s the first time Originals have done a shoe like this and I’m happy to report that they have my favourite sole: a crepe sole. SO NICE.

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Finally, here is the new Orla Kiely collection. Now, I thought this season’s were cute but if I’m honest, I wouldn’t have worn them. THESE, though…oh yes! The loafers have a distinctly Marni feel to them and those tall Chelsea boots are to die for!
So congratulations to Clarks! I think they’ll have a lot of happy customers in autumn. Don’t forget, you’ve got until the end of the month to enter the Clarks Loveable Brogues competition – win a pair of Clarks shoes and a weekend away with Mr and Mrs Smith. Read more here.

EnBrogue on BBC Radio 4 (eek!) and more: it’s this week’s Shoes Headlines

EnBrogue goes high-brow

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A couple of weeks ago, the BBC asked if they could come to my house and talk to me about my flat shoes for a feature on their Saturday morning magazine show, Saturday Live. As an avid listener of the show (I love the bit where people phone in to say thank you to someone who they couldn’t thank at the time – sometimes it’s people who have SAVED THEIR LIVES!) I was thrilled to even be asked. A lovely producer popped round with a microphone and we stood around a pile of my shoes talking about them for an hour. It’s airing this Easter Saturday morning from 9am (don’t worry – it’s been edited down to a couple of minutes!), so tune in if you want to hear me harping on about brogues and Birkenstocks!

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My shoes laid out for the BBC to use as “props”

Hats and shoes: a good combination

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I love hearing the funny stories behind designer collaborations. In this instance, FitFlop founder Marcia Kilgour met celebrated hat designer Stephen Jones in New York years ago when she gave him a facial and they’ve been friends ever since. They’ve now designed a shoe together, which will be available to buy in May.

Shoe crush – Zoe Lee

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Livonia, £495, zoelee.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)

Earlier this week I had afternoon tea (doesn’t that sound quaint!) with delightful shoe designer Zoe Lee. Her life sounds idyllic; she’s just opened a shop in Paris, where she now lives, and it just so happens to be in my favourite area, The Marais (if you’ve never been, you must – it’s brilliant for shopping). The brand is only two years old, but it already has a gorgeous individual style of its own. I LOVE the summer boots in particular.

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Opelousas, £395, zoelee.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)

High street shoe of the week

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Louise sandal, £150, swear-london.com (BUY ME HERE!)

Love them or hate them, chunky sandals are here to stay…for the summer at least. A key trend to look out for is a white sole, so these from Swear are about as on trend as it gets. They’re also available in white or silver. Wear with ripped boyfriend jeans and a slouchy white tee for a casual Easter weekend look.

EnBrogue – the gift that keeps on giving

Don’t forget all the exciting things going on with EnBrogue at the moment. You’ve got until the end of April to enter the Clarks ‘Loveable Brogues’ competition, where you can win a pair of shoes and a weekend away, courtesy of Mr and Mrs Smith (read about how to enter here). There are still some of my limited edition Jemima Vine Edie slippers available, so head to the website (here) if you fancy getting yourself a pair now that it’s bare ankles weather. And until the end of May, you can get 15% off at Seven Boot Lane (read about how to do that here).

15% off at Seven Boot Lane with EnBrogue

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Remember that lovely boots brand I told you about recently? Well, they don’t just do boots. To remind you, Seven Boot Lane is a British brand with a focus on making really great quality boots (and now shoes!) as an antidote to throw-away fashion. I’m thrilled that it’s branched out to make shoes and sandals too, especially as they are REALLY nice. Here I am sporting the new Banjo style. They are made of the softest summer suede and have a sturdy wood effect leather sole.

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Banjo in khaki leopard, £110 – £93.50 with EnBrogue discount (BUY ME HERE!)

The good news doesn’t stop with lovely shoes though. I’ve teamed up with Seven Boot Lane to give you 15% off until the end of May (so plenty of time to make a decision on which pair to buy!). Simply enter the code ENBROGUE15 when you check out to get your discount. To whet your appetite, here are a few of my favourite styles. Happy shopping – and tweet me with pictures of the ones you buy!

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Bella in grey suede (also available in rust), £100 – £85 with EnBrogue discount (BUY ME HERE!)
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Bracken in natural leather (also available in rust), £85 – £72.25 with EnBrogue discount (BUY ME HERE!)
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Banjo in pale pink suede (also available in khaki leopard), £110 – £93.50 with EnBrogue discount (BUY ME HERE!)
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Blaise in khaki leopard suede (also available in rust, blue and grey suede), £95 – £80.75 with EnBrogue discount (BUY ME HERE!)