MarySmith’sPlace – National Bunion Day


It’s April 25 – it’s National Bunion Day.

National Bunion Day has been established to remove the stigma surrounding bunions, encourage sufferers to contact healthcare professionals and provide practical advice and information to help with the problem.

What is a bunion? It’s a misaligned toe joint which manifests itself as a bony lump at the base of the big toe. It’s an extremely painful condition. Ask Meghan Markle, Victoria Beckham, Naomi Campbell, Jennifer Lopez or Amal Clooney and they’ll tell you how painful it is. Or, ask my sister. She may not be an A-List celebrity but she can tell you how painful it is to have a bunion. She’s had it for a long time and she’s still dithering about whether or not to have it operated on.

Over ten million women in the UK have bunions. Seventy five per cent of women with bunions are embarrassed by their feet. Ninety-seven per cent of women with bunions have bought shoes for a special occasion – and never worn them again.

Media personality Dr Dawn Harper (a bunion sufferer herself) has joined forces with Sole Bliss, makers of stylish shoes for women with bunions, to raise awareness for National Bunion Day 2019. Given her wealth of medical expertise and personal experience of the condition, Dr Harper, who hosts Channel 4’s hit series ‘Embarrassing Bodies’, is the perfect ambassador for the campaign and the brand.

She said: “I’m honoured to be involved with Sole Bliss for a second year. As a sufferer of bunions, I am so pleased to work with a brand whose shoes are not only gorgeous but also provide women the guarantee of comfort. As a GP, I often have people in my clinic who are embarrassed and unsure about how they can manage the condition. This is exactly why I believe National Bunion Day is crucial – so we can inform the public that millions of people have them, they are not something to be ashamed of, and there are solutions.”

Surgery is the only solution to get rid of bunions.  It can take a while to recover from surgery. You’ll usually need to:

stay off your feet as much as possible for at least 2 weeks

avoid driving for 6 to 8 weeks

stay off work for 6 to 12 weeks

avoid sports for up to 6 months

Bunions sometimes come back after surgery.

You can understand why my sister is still dithering about surgery!

Some of the other solutions to ease bunion pain:


hold an ice pack (or a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a tea towel) to the bunion for up to 5 minutes at a time

try bunion pads (soft pads you put in shoes to stop them rubbing on a bunion) – you can buy these from pharmacies

take paracetamol or ibuprofen

try to lose weight if you’re overweight

wear wide shoes with a low heel and soft sole


wear high heels or tight, pointy shoes

Where’s the fun in not having pointy shoes?

Sole Bliss, who introduced National Bunion Day, was launched in 2017 by designer Lisa Kay following five years of research and development. Elegant, yet deep and spacious at the front, they provide stylish shoes for women with bunions. Lisa said: “I hope we can continue to remove previous stigma and let women who currently suffer in silence know that there is a brand new range of on-trend, stylish shoes designed especially for them.”

I never use this blog for promotions (other than my books, and I’m so useless at that – did you even know I wrote books?) but for some reason – maybe my sister’s bunion – this National Bunion Day appeals to me!


Published Bloggers (1)

Here’s a very generous offer from Pete to promote bloggers’ books.


As some of you know, I am always happy to promote the books of bloggers who have published books. Whether they have self-published, or managed to get a deal, it doesn’t matter.

I made a similar offer to this in 2017, and thought it was about time to try again.

But I don’t have time to trawl the blogs of my followers for them, and rely on them letting me know. So I have decided to offer a no-strings promotion on my blog. If you are part of this community, and struggling to get readers for your work, then I will help by adding your links to a series of blog posts. To be included, just choose from the following options.

1) Add your link or links to the comments on this post.
2) Send me a cover photo and a brief synopsis by email to
Then I will…

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MarySmith’sPlace – The Scottish Riviera

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I thought I’d take you on one of my favourite circular walks. Even on a grey day it’s a great walk which takes in coastline and woodland and an ancient hill fort. It’s a short walk (3.25 miles/5.25 km) although, if the tide is out you can add a bit extra by walking to Rough Island over the causeway which is exposed at low tide.

The walk starts at either Kippford or Rockcliffe, two villages on the East Stewartry Coast, a National Scenic Area in Dumfries & Galloway. The area is known for its turbulent history, smugglers, wonderful scenery, wildlife, birdlife and wild flowers. In fact, the Victorians, who discovered its delights as a holiday resort, named it The Scottish Riviera.

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Marina at Kippford

Starting at Kippford there’s car parking by the village hall and from there you walk past the marina (dreaming of the yacht a lottery win would buy) and through the village, past the lifeboat station and The Ark shop and tearoom (cakes to die for when you return) and along a private road (choosing which of the very desirable houses that lottery win would buy) along the shoreline.

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Rough Island at low tide with the causeway on the right.

Rough Island is soon in view. It’s owned by National Trust for Scotland and is a bird sanctuary. Visitors are discouraged in May and June to avoid disturbing nesting oystercatchers and ringed plovers. It’s small but nice to visit and you can take a stone from the beach to place on the cairn on top of the hill.

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Loved the ferns growing out of this moss-covered tree

A track leads up from the shoreline into the woodland. Follow the path for Rockcliffe. You come out of the woodland, cross a meadow, through a kissing gate, past the entrance to a house and through a second gate.

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The track takes you out onto Rockcliffe bay with its lovely mixture of rocks, sand and rock pools. There are public loos and often a Mr Whippy van parked nearby, an information board tells visitors about the area – and more lovely houses overlooking the sea.

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To return to Kippford, follow the signs for the Jubilee Path (to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee) and head back up, past the Baron’s Craig Hotel, into the woods. At a crossroads, signposts direct you to the Mote of Mark, the hilltop fort which overlooks the Urr estuary.

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Mote of Mark

It was the court of a Dark Age chieftain, possibly one of the princes of Rheged, and was occupied from the 5th to 7th centuries. The main defences consisted of stone and timber walls with a timber gate at the main entrance. It may have been destroyed by fire in the 7th century as the outer wall shows evidence that heat caused stones to fuse together. This could have been due to the Angles attacking and burning the place (Angle runic inscriptions were found at the site) though it’s possible the walls were deliberately vitrified to strengthen them.

Excavations in 1913 and 1973 unearthed a large, circular timber hut and evidence of metalworking. Iron was brought from the Lake District and jet from York. Pottery imported from Bordeaux and glass from the Rhineland, were also found.

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Rough Island from the Mote of Mark with Hestan Island in the background

Back at the crossroads another detour can be made to Mark Hill – okay so these detours add a bit more to the length of the walk but that coffee and cake at the end will be worth the extra effort. The path, through managed woodland, climbs up and round the hill and offers spectacular views of the Solway from the view point.

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This stone is on the path up to the top of the hill fort. I don’t know if the pattern is the result of weathering or man-made. Any ideas?

Head down the hill, re-join the path and carry on back to Kippford – and coffee and cake. I had a banana and chocolate brownie. I’d eaten before I thought to take a photo of it!