thoughtful branding


i think this is the first time i didn’t look incredibly awkward while smiling!

i want you to smash the idea in your mind that there are “important people” and then, there’s you.  that there are worthy people, special people, and then, on the other hand, there’s you.  nothing is further from the truth.  you are important.  you are just as important as anyone else, and you’re the hero of your story– as heroic and amazing as your favorite heroes from your favorite stories.  you’re the protag.  this is your epic quest.  this is your Test.  and, believe me when i tell you, you’re doing so, so well

No one really feels self-confident deep down because it’s an artificial idea. Really, people aren’t that worried about what you’re doing or what you’re saying, so you can drift around the world relatively anonymously: you must not feel persecuted and examined. Liberate yourself from that idea that people are watching you.
—  Russell Brand
Just Because.

I received an awesome message from @thatwetwomaybeoneagain yesterday and it was just so lovely it made me want to show my appreciated for her and for all the fanfiction readers who encourage us, inspire us and keep our spirits high. Thank you so much guys. 

Claire seldom went into the village except to tend to ill or injured folk, she tended to stay at Lallybroch and the surrounding cottages and homes. It was not that she was afraid to venture out alone, far from it, but she always found that her work was cut out for her just staying on top of the work that needed doing close by.

However when Fergus outgrew the boots he had worn over from France, Claire offered to take him to the cobblers to purchase some new ones. Jamie had raised his eyebrows at the thought of buying brand new boots for a lad who would surely grow out of them in a matter of months but had handed over the money for them without comment. Claire knew it was something of an extravagance but Fergus had never owned a pair of shoes not first owned by at least three other people before him and despite taking to farm life like a sparrow to the open air, Fergus was a dandy at heart and Claire knew how much he would appreciate the gesture.

The people they met on route were friendly and openly curious about the Sassenach who had married their laird and the French waif that they had brought home from their travels, despite most having met them before.

Fergus was all too happy to show off his differences and exaggerated his accent and peculiarities for the delight of their onlookers until Claire begged him to stop so that they might make it there and back before Christmas!

The cobbler was a gruff man in his late forties who treated them with an aloof politeness that Claire was beginning to realise was synonymous with the Highland culture when doing any sort of trade for money that did not require bartering. Fergus had been convinced that he could get the price down if he haggled but Claire shushed him. If the cobbler told the Lady of Lallybroch that the price for the shoes was four shillings then that was already a bargain price and she had no intention of embarrassing him, nor of robbing him.

Fergus wore his new shoes out into the street with all the swagger of a king in full regalia. He side-stepped puddles and made sure to turn his feet just so when stepping so that the sun sparked off of the new buckles.

“Milady, these are the finest boots I have ever seen, they are like walking on clouds and see how perfectly they fit me? You and Milord have showered me with perfect gifts …”

He beamed up at her and Claire had to resist the urge to pull him into a hug, she knew that in public Fergus saw himself as her guardian and took his role seriously.

“I’m glad you like them and they fit well, but new boots can give blisters so let me know if you need padding while you break them in.”

“Blisters? From these?”

His outrage was theatrical as he shook his head in supposed disbelief.

“It is like they have been filled with ambrosia! They will never suffer a blister to arise on any skin they touch!”

Claire rolled her eyes and slung an arm around his shoulders, smiling.

“You are going to be a thespian! I just know it.”

“An acteur?? Non! I am going to be a warrior and then a farmer, like Milord.”

“Ah! Well that will please him I’m sure”

Claire nodded sagely. Fergus left her side to peer into shop windows and Claire allowed her thoughts to wander back to her garden and the neat rows of seedlings she had planted a few days before. So far they appeared to be surviving the slugs and Jenny’s goat which was forever trying to sneak into the fenced off area Claire had claimed but how long their luck would last was uncertain.


Fergus’ shout pulled her abruptly back to the present and Claire looked round frantically before her eyes settled on him, beckoning to her from outside a store which apparently sold leather goods and, from the smell of it, brandy.

“What? You nearly scared me half to death!”

She chided, peering into the window over the top of his head

“Milady, look! For Milord!”

Fergus pointed at a pair of soft dark blue gloves and Claire’s expression softened. They were beautiful but they would have barely covered Claire’s own hand, let alone Jamie’s massive paw.

“Fergus, that is a lovely thought but they are far too small.”

“But they will have others, non? We could ask?”

Claire opened her mouth to refuse but stopped. Why shouldn’t she purchase her husband a decent pair of gloves? The weather was turning and come winter he would be glad of a pair of leather ones that would not absorb the rain the way his knitted ones did. Also she wasn’t sure that she had ever bought Jamie a gift. The realisation came as a surprise but when she tried to think of an occasion where she would have but no, she had not.

“Alright. Why not?”

She led the way into the store and whilst Fergus eyed the pockets on the assorted bags with a pick-pockets professional eye, Claire spoke to the shop keeper and explained what she wanted.

“Fer wee James Fraser ye say? Himself’s lad?”

The man must have been at least seventy and he pondered her request as he scratched his chin before ducking beneath the counter with surprising nimbleness and rifling through boxes.

“He’s not so wee anymore! His hands …”

Claire turned her own hands over to think how best to convey the size of Jamie’s.

“Ach, dinna fash. I ken James verra well. Big lad. Hair that makes a lass think of sin, eh? Ah… begging ye pardon Mistress.”

He looked up briefly to make sure that Claire was not mortally offended and resumed his search.

“Here we are! I dinna have the blue, but that’s too effeminate for a man o’ his size anyway.”

He laid the gloves he had selected on the counter for Claire’s approval. They were the colour of roasted chestnuts, beautifully soft and looked as if they had been made with Jamie in mind for their size. Claire paid the price asked with a willing eagerness that made Fergus roll his eyes, a born haggler it insulted his sensibilities to see her pay without trying their luck.

As they approached Lallybroch, Fergus spotted Jamie in the court yard with the dogs and called out a greeting, pointing at his new shoes and hurried forward with a strange sort of speedy waddle of exaggerated care not to dirty them before Milord’s inspection.

“Ah! Now they are a bonnie pair of boots. Ye’ll walk miles in those wi’out knowing ye’ve done it.”

Jamie nodded and Fergus beamed with pride at his approval.

“Oui! I selected a modest buckle but I did not compromise on the quality of the leather.”

He informed Jamie with all of the solemnity that the occasion demanded. Being trusted with the choice of his attire had brought out the confidence that Claire had expected and as she raised an ‘I told you so’ eyebrow at her husband, Jamie’s lip twitched but he held his smile in check.

“Aye, the quality is important. Well chosen lad.”

Fergus hurried off to show Jenny and Jamie took the moment of quiet to gather her into an embrace.

“I’ve missed ye today.”

“Have you?”

Claire pulled back to look up at him and his smile warmed her to the very core

“Aye, I ken it’s foolish but I like having ye close by. I feel it when ye are no’ there.”

“Well I have something that might make up for it!”

Jamie’s hand slipped lower down her back to grasp her bottom, eyes alight with expectation.

“Er … well there is that. But I actually have a present for you.”

Claire grinned, pulling back from him.

“A better gift than an afternoon with your arse in my hand? I dinna ken that there is such a thing.”

Jamie murmured, stepping in close to her again but Claire placed a hand on his chest, stilling him and followed up by producing the small box with a flourish.

“Here. This is for you.”

Jamie smiled uncertainly and held the box as if it was made of crystal

“Ye bought me a present?”

“Well yes. I told you so didn’t I?”

Claire cocked her head to the side as Jamie ran his thumb lightly along the edges.

“Aye but … well ye didna have to.”

“I know but I wanted to. Aren’t you going to open it?”

Claire was excited to see his reaction and Jamie nodded placidly, gently untying the ribbon and carefully placing it in his pocket before lifting the lid.

“Oh, Claire.”

He peered down at the gloves and traced his finger gently across the back of the top one.

“Do you like them? I’m sure you could change them if …”

“They’re beautiful.”

Jamie looked up from the box and carefully replaced the lid. His eyes wide and blue and more beautiful than Claire could ever tell him.

“Thank you so verra much Sassenach. I shall treasure them.”

Claire stroked the hair back from his face and kissed him gently on the lips

“Good. It’s about time I got you a decent gift.”


His tone was incredulous and Claire laughed as she wrapped her arms around his neck and pressed herself close to him.

“Just because.”

  • me yesterday: finally! after years of searching I have found The Bralette Of My Dreams: pretty lacy racerback, padded cups so the nips don't show, not too tight or loose, comes in peach AND black!
  • me today: whose body was trying these on bc they don't....... fit......