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Foot Care 101

It’s all too easy to overlook the importance of regular foot care, but small problems with our feet can affect our overall health. Our feet do the hard work of supporting us day in and day out, we take them for granted – but one minor problem can stop us in our tracks.

The good news is that there are plenty of steps you can take to keep your feet in good working order, and walking onward. Here are a few suggestions for keeping your tootsies happy and healthy.

Keep Your Feet Clean and Pampered

While this may seem like an obvious step, it’s important to wash and dry your feet every day, taking special care to clean and dry between your toes to avoid any bacterial or fungal growth. No one likes stinky feet. Considering going the extra mile and treating yourself to a foot spa or massage, or try convincing your significant other to give you one!


While many of us apply moisturisers after bathing, applying before bedtime can be a great way to soften and lubricate your skin.

Check Your Feet

Because our feet are often covered, we may not notice when problems begin.  Check weekly for callouses, cuts, bruises, blisters, and swelling. If you notice anything unusual get it checked out.

Trim Those Nails!

Long toenails are not only decidedly unsightly, but can be a breeding ground for bacteria growth. Keep your nails short by trimming to the edge of your toe, or just above. Avoid trimming your nails too short though, this can lead to ingrown nails.

Wear Quality Socks

To avoid athlete’s foot and other issues, wear breathable socks made of cotton or wool. You’ll want to choose socks with a snug fit, avoiding loose socks which can cause blisters and too-tight socks which can make your toes uncomfortable.

Exercise your Feet

To main proper foot health, your feet need exercise! Feet are extremely intricate, with almost 30 bones, over 100 ligaments, and many joints and muscles. If you sit down all day, a 30-minute walk can help keep your feet in good working order.

Wear Properly Fitted Shoes

Shoes that don’t fit properly are a major cause of foot pain. In fact, unsupportive shoes can also trigger pain in your back, making everyday activities difficult. If you have foot pain or are unsure of your correct size, go for a professional fitting. Your feet will thank you!

Treat Your feet to 100% Merino Wool Slippers

At the end of a long day, treat yourself to a pair of SHEPHY slippers that will keep your feet warm and cosy!  Merino wool slippers provide exceptional comfort, will keep your feet warm without overheating, and are easy to keep clean.

While there are many practical steps we can take to keep our feet in good health, it is important not to neglect some of the more luxurious things we can do for our feet, such as treating them to a foot spa or wearing comfy slippers around the house. Taking these steps will ensure healthy feet that carry you well into the future.

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What’s in a Slipper? According to Literature, a Lot.

Be it shoes, slippers, boots, wellies, or flip-flops; our footwear is a constant companion. We wear them daily and we own numerous pairs over the course of our lives. Some of our footwear we remember, others we forget. Some we cherish for special occasions and others have a more work-a-day quality to them.

It’s not too often that we ascribe special significance to what’s on our feet, yet throughout written history shoes have often played a central role in narratives.

Here, we take a brief look at some of the ways in which shoes have been imbued with meaning in literature and popular culture.

As Transporting

Joanne Harris, the award-winning author of ‘Chocolat’, writes that shoes have a “talismanic quality”, an air of possibility to them.

Cinderella would certainly agree; her glass slippers play a central role in transporting her to a life beyond the cinders of a wicked stepmother’s hearth. Likewise for Dorothy in ‘The Wizard of Oz’, whose ruby slippers need only be clicked together three times and Dorothy can be transported back home to Kansas. Both women gain the ending they sought thanks to the transformative and transporting power of their footwear.

As Powerful or Magical

While Dorothy’s red slippers were magical in a good way, other pairs in literature haven’t been so kind to their wearers. Consider Karen in Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale ‘The Red Shoes’. In this darkly moralising tale Karen is made to dance continuously for the sin of pride:

“Dance in your red shoes until you are pale and cold, and your flesh shrivels down to the skeleton. Dance you shall from door to door, and wherever there are children proud and vain you must knock at the door till they hear you, and are afraid of you. Dance you shall. Dance always.”

Yikes. It’s enough to make you want to run to your trusted slippers and hide from the world.

Fear not though, not all powerful shoes have a dark side. As Nancy Sinatra sang, her boots were made for walking and they help her protagonist walk away from a lyin’ and cheatin’ man who is ill-deserving of her affections.

As Comforting

In Bob Dylan’s song ‘Boots of Spanish Leather’ the speaker’s beloved goes away on a trip and asks what gift they should send back. At first, the lover left behind declares they want nothing more than “your sweet kiss” for which they would forsake “the diamonds from the deepest oceans” and “the stars from the darkest night”. Yet, as the song progresses the lover who travelled to Spain becomes increasingly distant and says that perhaps they won’t be returning. The forsaken lover ends the final verse with a wish:

“And yes, there’s something you can send back to me
Spanish boots of Spanish leather”

With the loss of their love, the speaker goes for the next best thing they can think of, eschewing the offers of ‘fine’ golds and silvers, they ask for a pair of good boots. We can assume that these boots are to be both comfortable and comforting.

Here at SHEPHY, we’re with Bob on this one; what can beat the comfort of a pair of good boots? And what could be more comforting than knowing that if all else fails, you’ve still got a good pair by your side.

Just tap the heels together a few times to find out if they’re magical.

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Shrek the Sheep: From New Zealand to the World

Gather round you lovers of tall tales and woolly things and let me spin you a yarn about the most wondrous merino sheep to have ever roamed the land.

His name was Shrek.

Born in 1994, Shrek was a simple sheep living on the Bendigo Station, near Tarras, New Zealand; but at heart, he was a rebel. He wasn’t going to let the man dictate how long his fleece would be but rather than trying to fight it he went on the lam(b). Hiding out in caves and keeping a low profile, he managed to escape shearing for six years. All good things, however, must come to an end and in 2006 he was found and caught by a musterer named Ann Scanlan.

Now, whilst some breeds of sheep shed their wool naturally each year, the miracle of merino fleece is that it will just continue to grow… and grow… and grow. That low profile Shrek had been trying to maintain wasn’t so easy with a 15 inch (38cm) long fleece that made him look like some form of prehistoric, fluffy creature.

When Scanlan presented the sheep to John Perriam, the owner of the sheep station, she was shocked that he wanted to publicise the find. Surely having “missed” a sheep for so long was a shameful secret? There was something about the big fuzzy bundle that spoke to Perriam though and as it turned out the whole of New Zealand.

Shrek became an instant celebrity, famed both at home and abroad.

Thirteen days after he was finally captured, Shrek was shorn. The shearing was shown live on TV New Zealand and performed, with scissors to ensure he had enough of a coat for the upcoming winter, by a former world champion shearer. Having entered looking, in Perriam’s words, “like some kind of Biblical creature” twenty minutes later he left with skinny legs, lean body and a clean cut coat. He was also presented with a special jacket, made from merino wool (naturally), to make sure he didn’t get too cold.

Shrek’s story doesn’t end there though. A month after the initial shearing he was introduced to New Zealand’s then Prime Minister Helen Clark and he went on to a life as a celebrity; making public appearances, travelling by plane and even undergoing a second shearing on an iceberg floating off the coast of Dunedin in New Zealand.

Shrek was still a sheep of the people though. He may have raised over $100 million for the export industry but his massive fleece helped those in need too. An auction of the 59lb (27kg) pile of wool (enough to make 20 large men’s suits) raised money for a children’s medical charity, while books about Shrek’s life are helping to fund the local school in Tarras.

Shrek died in 2011 at the age of 16, making him quite possibly one of the oldest sheep ever as well as the one with the largest fleece. He remains a New Zealand national icon and as long as people dare to roam free and live a woolly life he will be remembered.