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Just ask Loulou: COVID, human touch, and toes. Yes, toes.

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“If you were one of the customers that witnessed me having my toes photographed with tiny flower crowns I apologise…With my Valium on board, I truly believed I was creating art…”

She is the zanier (and more sweary) side of Canberra floral royalty Moxom and Whitney, but did you know that Loulou Moxom gives good advice? This week, she talks about lockdown, mental wellbeing and toes.

Hello, my darlings, my Loves and my Groovers,

How are you all doing? Let’s be honest, 2020 has been a complete shit fight and we may as well just get the Chrissy tree up and call it a day hey?

Work-wise all we can do at Moxom + Whitney is roll with whatever new restriction pops up and hope and pray we get through another week scrambling for flowers before borders are closed and flights are cancelled.

It was shitful to start with but it’s our new normal now…no point complaining, it’s not going to change our circumstances.

There are two aspects that I’m really struggling with though. Like…Really struggling.

Human touch. Reassuring touches to an arm or a shoulder. Cradling babies. Hugging soon-to-be brides and high fiving new parents. Handshakes, hand-holding, love-filled hugs and kisses. I really miss being able to be close to humans. Humans are one of my favourite things. I miss you guys.

I’m also struggling with not being able to see my son anytime soon as he lives in a state under lockdown and December 2019 (the last time I saw him) seems like it was years ago.

To be honest, my mental health has taken a beating too (but whose hasn’t) and I’ve become even more sensitive than I was pre-COVID.

It’s forced me to acknowledge my moods more and really take the time to create positivity in my world. I have to. It’s my coping mechanism (that and eating my weight in crisps and sherbet).

The most exciting thing to happen so far was my recent toe surgery. Yep. Toe surgery. Hence this reader’s question.

Dear Loulou, I follow you on Instagram and erm, what happened to your feet?

Look, it’s COVID times…I’ll take whatever experience I can that doesn’t involve that c-word so if you want to read a wee tale about pork trotters and acid read on…

I hate my feet.

I also really hate my toes. I find it uncomfortable to look at feet. Anyone’s feet. I also think that YOU think my feet are ugly and disgusting.

I inherited my mother’s flat and very wide feet. She also gifted me ten little piggy-like sausage digits (toes) featuring toenails that are misshapen and toenails that curve.

We suffer from RFUFS or Really F**king Ugly Foot Syndrome. The only difference we have in regards to our RFUFS is that mum will go to the foot doctor and have the pain and problems treated whereas I suffer through until I am unable to even tolerate the weight of a bedsheet touching an ingrown nail.

I hate pain almost as much as I hate the thought of exposing my wee trotters to someone. So to think that a foot doctor would have to be up close to my feet and would have to touch my feet? Ew.

Three weeks ago I hobbled into mum’s flat, complaining of ingrown toenail pain. I was expecting the usual spiel about getting them fixed whilst being offered random foodstuffs (“…I’ve got some lovely rollmops, darling?”) but instead was told that she would “Flip her Onions!!!” (?) if I didn’t do something about my feet and proceeded to make an appointment for me with her doctor.

You know when you just know? You’ve been told by your mum and it’s happening, no questions asked-zero tolerance policy? This was one of those times. I did summon the courage to decline the rollmops though.

Here’s where we meet Aaron. RFUFS Specialist.

Aaron from ACT Podiatry is a podiatrist—a foot specialist. He suggested I have a partial nail avulsion (cut parts of the nail completely away) with phenolisation of the nail matrix (using a chemical to burn part of the nail root away). Fancy hey?

He also suggested I visit my GP to get a prescription for a Valium to take pre-op as I’m not a fan of needles and pain killers for post-op.

If you were one of the customers that came into Moxom and Whitney that afternoon to witness me having my toes photographed with tiny flower crowns I apologise. At the time and with my Valium on board, I truly believed I was creating art.

The procedure consists of a local anaesthetic injection, two pricks into the one toe to numb the whole toe. The nail is cut to the base, with a slither of nail removed with the nail root (nail matrix). Phenol acid is used to kill the cells to ensure that the sides of the nails do not grow back.

The worst part is definitely the needles but after they kicked in me and Aaron chatted music, playlists and Netflix gems whilst he worked his magic on my RFUFS toes.

Now we all know I’m Captain No Filter and couple that with my Valium bravado the questions were flowing at this stage…I was like Liz Hayes—Diane Sawyer even. My questions were professional and intelligent.

I was also about to have the acid part done so I decided to remember my questions rather than distract Aaron any further.

These are the questions a Valium and an Endone enhanced whistling champion and florist typed badly into a text to a very understanding Aaron on her magic carpet ride back to Yass.

Loulou: Why feet as a profession?

(Hand on heart I never went to school with anyone who was going to be a foot expert, hey?).

Aaron: I didn’t know what I wanted to do after school, but I loved science. I did a biomedical degree and decided I liked the anatomy, physiology subjects, but hated the biology and chemistry units. I had a look at the courses that encompassed anatomy and physiology.

At the time I was doing a project on diabetes since I had an interest due to my father having the condition. When I found podiatry it had all the things I was looking for, unique job (I like being strange and doing something different), working with people, anatomy and physiology, work in the diabetic patient. I haven’t really looked back since.

Do you secretly check out people’s feet?

I actually do check out people’s feet all the time. It’s no secret, I always wonder if a person has a fungal nail, ingrown toenail, a particular gait which may signify arthritis etc.

Every foot has a story, and no foot is ugly to me. Even the wackiest foot can get treatment.

Are Podiatrist’s Christmas Parties fun? Do you have awards?

Our Christmas parties are kick ass! I’d love if we had a Dundies Awards like The Office. Maybe I should make a suggestion to the boss?

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve seen in Toe City?

As a podiatrist, we see some pretty weird things, but the worst case was having a live spider underneath one of my patient’s toenails.

The weirdest thing I had to do for someone was to clean out their hearing aids, the patient thought I was a personal carer, not a podiatrist.

It took a while to get the patient to understand I was there to cut his toenails, not to clean his hearing aids?


I’m pretty sure Aaron loved that I sent regular pics of my toes to him and checked to make sure he’d watched Travels With My Father and discussed my potential space-themed disco 50th ideas with him whilst on my course of painkillers for the week after my op.

That or he is the most chilled and forgiving medical professional in all the land.

I’m at Week Three recovery stage and I’m not going to lie—Week One was the worst. My toes were sore and swollen. They throbbed with pain and looked so gross I couldn’t change the dressings myself.

Despite the puke factor, we took daily photos of my wounds. Aaron assured me my toes would look really bad for a while and he wasn’t wrong and who doesn’t secretly like a bit of grossness once in a while?

So that’s what happened to my toes.

You’re either at the “bloody hell, I’m sorry I asked” stage or the “I’ll take a long-winded story and five minutes away from my current 2020 life anytime, thanks Loulou you weird and silly beauty” stage.

Either one, stay groovy my loves



Feature image: Tim Bean

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