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The Story of My International Mittens

It’s currently snowing the first real, stick to the ground snow of the year here in St. John’s as I write this. Since it’s new and I have yet to have to shovel it I’m going to revel in it’s prettiness and break out the Christmas tunes and egg nog. It also means it’s time to get my mittens out.

I have Raynaud’s and like to joke that I’m allergic to the cold. If my hands and toes get too cold, the blood flow to them gets really restricted and they turned white and numb. Pretty much anything under 10C could trigger an episode if I don’t keep my hands warm. Gloves don’t always put up enough of a defense so mittens are my best friend when the temperatures drop.

International Mittens |

On my first international trip to England back in 2004, I discovered Accessorize, a glittering wonderland of an accessories store. Among my purchases was a pair of lightweight brown striped flip-top mittens. They were perfect for late fall leading into winter. I wore them faithfully for years until I couldn’t patch the worn out thumbs anymore.

Then in 2011 I was touring Ireland with my dad. I dragged him up Grafton Street in Dublin so I could go shopping and lo and behold… Accessorize! I wondered… Sure enough they still had those lightweight flip-top mittens. And there was much rejoicing. I bought a pair of candy coloured stripey ones and my hands were happy campers once more.  After their third winter friends started commenting on the holes developing in the thumbs. Dammit. I kept looking but could never find any mittens at home in that same lightweight knit that was so perfect for fall temps for me and had resigned myself to patching them up to get through another year. I just don’t have the patience to knit myself a pair with such a tiny gauge.

International Mittens |

On the left, 2014 mittens from Spain, on the right 2011 mittens from Ireland…with a hole in the thumb.

Fast forward to this September in Ibiza, Spain. The island where it doesn’t really go much below 15C in the dead of winter. What store did I discover near my hotel? Yep. Accessorize. But surely they’re not going to carry cold weather gear like I found in England and Ireland? Would you believe it? They had my gloves! The only options though were a solid cream or solid grey ones. Sold. The clerk might’ve thought it strange that I was buying mittens when it was 25C out but what odds. Figure I’m good for another few years now.

So after 10 years and three countries I seem to have started something of an international mitten tradition. I wonder if I should find a way to stockpile on these mitts now or just cross my wool covered fingers and have faith that an Accessorize store will cross my path sometime in 2017?

What would you do? Looks like shipping is free. ;)


  1. Glamourous Traveller says:

    November 30th, 2014 at 10:56 am (#)

    Hahaha I definitely think you’re going to bump into Accessorize again in the future. They even sell mittens here in Singapore! Where it never falls below 70 degrees… ever!

  2. Melissa Hogan says:

    November 30th, 2014 at 1:16 pm (#)

    I guess if they’ve been selling that same basic style since 2004, chances are they’ll still be selling them when my current pair wears out in about 3 years.

  3. Sue says:

    December 2nd, 2014 at 12:55 pm (#)

    Would bring you a pair from England anytime. They don’t take up much space in the suitcase!!!

  4. Melissa Hogan says:

    December 2nd, 2014 at 1:01 pm (#)

    Aw, thanks! I just may call on you when these ones wear out.

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