Saturday, 2 May 2015

Pack the perfect carry-on bag

If you've followed me on Twitter or Instagram (if not then start following!) you'll see that I love travel as well as fashion, and having been to 54 different countries, I consider myself somewhat of a pro at packing a carry-on bag!



1. For starters, double check the rules of the airline you're flying with.
Some low cost airlines have a ruling that you're only allowed to take one item of carry-on luggage, whether a handbag or small case.
Some low cost airlines let you take on one small case and one handbag, but do have size restrictions, so check that out. 

For long haul flights, you probably won't be taking a case on board with you, so you're good to go with packing your carry-on bag.

2. Pick your bag well. 
Make sure it's a good 5 or 6 inches wide to ensure you get everything in without it ending up in a muddle. And for long haul flights, definitely make sure it's tall enough to house your stack of magazines for in-flight entertainment. If you're anything like me, you'll end up with quite a weighty bag, so check the handle/strap is strong enough and long enough to go over your shoulder (trust me, you'll end up needing both hands free at some point!).

3. Now pick your outfit.
If you're one of these people who likes to travel in a hoodie and joggers, good for you, but I'm afraid that's not me! Unless you've got hundreds of bags to choose from, or are buying a new one, I'd pick the bag before the outfit and match around it. Go for something that's still comfy, and trust me, you'll want to be warm enough when you're going to the airport this end but cool enough when you arrive in whatever sunny destination you've chosen, so perhaps go with layers. Plus the plane's always a bit nippy!

4. Get your essentials together.
I always do this a day or two ahead of time to stay organised.



These are my absolute essentials to take with you in your carry-on:

  • Your travel documents - passport, parking/transfers/hotel confirmations, boarding passes if you've already checked in, or flight confirmation if not. I keep the majority of my foreign currency with these bits so it's safer.
  • Purse, with some home currency as well as enough foreign currency to cover your first day (including a taxi fare from the airport). Also, at least one credit card but no debit card as it's harder to sort if it's lost or stolen.
  • Phone - fully charged!
  • iPad if you've got one, with lots of music and the latest episodes of your fave show downloaded to pass the time.
  • Headphones
  • Brush/comb
  • Mirror
  • Small make up bag - for whatever your own make up essentials are.
  • Clear bag for your liquids - don't forget each item has to be under 100ml and don't take anything you don't think you'll use as it's added weight you don't want. I take a baby deodorant, moisturiser, baby dry shampoo, and a little perfume.
  • Pain killers
  • Magazines for a long haul flight - I always check that I haven't bought 4 with the same headlines!
  • Camera - check there's a fully charged battery and empty memory card inside.
  • Sunglasses 


Another tip to make your flight more enjoyable and stress-free is to use airport lounges. Some only cost £20 or so and it's well worth it. Away from the hustle and bustle of the departure gates you can enjoy a couple of glasses of wine and a light meal, leaving you in your own little bubble before boarding. 

Most importantly, once you've got all this in hand, try to relax and enjoy your flight and holiday!

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Michael Kors Mini Cross Body Bag


I bought this little addition to my collection a while ago now, having noticed a tan coloured gap on my Michael Kors shelf.

I love the colour, which compliments the gold on the bag so well. And it goes with so many outfits, giving a full black ensemble a subtle pop or setting off a nautical look perfectly.

Now, I won't kid you, it's small. But we weren't looking for a tote here were we?
I've used it on a city break before and couldn't fit my camera in alongside just my already downsized purse and my phone, but it's great for when you're only carrying keys, money and your phone. 

There's a lined pocket inside the bag, but as I mentioned, you'd be well advised to purchase one of those little coin purses to pop your change and cards in as the pocket doesn't have a zip or fastening.


The length of the strap isn't adjustable but I think it's already the perfect length and hangs well. As the bag itself is quite rigid, the zip glides across with ease as you'd expect with any MK product. 


Jeggings: Primark. Shirt: River Island. Sandals: New Look.


This is a really cute option if you're looking to spend a little more on a designer brand but aren't going full on with a shoulder bag or tote just yet, although once you buy one it's only a matter of time before you buy the next!

As always, leave me a comment and follow me over on Twitter, Pinterest, Bloglovin' and Instagram - links on the right somewhere. Thanks!

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Fiorelli Lucy Tote

After I got sucked in by a sale at Fiorelli.com, I made the most of it by grabbing everything I'd lusted after on their site a few weeks previous. Even got my Mum involved to update her limited bag collection!

I've already reviewed my tan Mia Grab Bag so the Lucy Tote is the next one to show off.



The trend so far seems to be how roomy they all are, and this one is no exception. With two open pockets inside the bag at the front, one zipped pocket inside to the back, and a zipped pocket outside at the back, there's plenty of places to store your phone and mirror that you'd almost certainly lose in the bottom of the bag underneath the usual load of accumulated bits and bobs. There's also a zip over the whole top that glides right across more easily than expected. The base is quite rigid, making it brilliant for a day bag as I don't think it would lose it's depth quickly and start to sag (hate that word!) like some softer bags. 



The two handles are definitely large enough to go over your shoulder properly rather than making the bag sit too high under your arm, especially if you haven't quite shifted those winter bingo wings yet, so perfect for wearing over coats or layers. Another little bonus is that the handles fall down neatly on either side of the bag when it's perched beside you, leaving them less likely to become misshapen.

I do love this bag, and it's perfect for completing a nice nautical look or a country style with a gilet, but tan goes with so much you can't go wrong.

Having only had this for a few weeks, it doesn't seem to be available on their site any longer, but the gorgeous Selena Shoulder Tote for £69 is similar as well as the Roxanne East West Shoulder bag for £69.

 

That took a lot of will power to look on Fiorelli.com and find that - the new ranges are so beautiful and just perfect for summer. Starting to think I actually need professional help for my bag obsession!

Anyway, as usual, feel free to leave me a comment and follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Bloglovin'.


Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Fiorelli Mia Grab Bag

After being lured in by a tweet from Fiorelli about free personalisation, I had to get my hands on one of these Mia Grab Bags with my initials neatly embossed on it forever and a day.

Deciding which one to go for was a dilemma, swaying towards black or tan as I decided, whether it's true or not, that I don't have a bag in those colours and this style. Imagine my face when my sister told me she'd bought the black version that same day... not pretty. But it made my decision for me and I went with the tan.

Anyway, it's fab! It seems a smaller, compact bag, especially when resting over your arm with the handles, but it's really spacious. There are three main zipped sections with plenty of room in each, the biggest in the middle which also has a zipped pocket inside, and the front of the bag has a thin pocket with a magnetic fastening. The best way to describe it is like a stylish Tardis!




The handles are just the right size to slip over your arm, and the detachable strap can be adjusted with the buckle to suit all lengths if you fancy popping it over your shoulder or across your body.

I used the bag when I went on a weekend break to Cologne last month and I never thought I'd see the day when I didn't take a bag the size size of a small suitcase on board with me, but this really did the trick. It held all the usual suspects including my sunnies, purse, camera, phone, umbrella, and all my travel documents, with some room left for a tasty plane snack. While I was there, it was by my side most days and I was confident that I wasn't carrying a back breaking amount inside it but more than I think I would with a lot of other grab bags you find. Perfect!



The best bit is, if you're loving the sounds of a roomy but neat bag like this one but aren't sure on the colour, then there's loads for you to choose from at Fiorelli.com. Obviously that might be a bit tough to choose just one, so go on, treat yourself to two! You didn't hear that from me, I'm a bad influence...

As usual, leave me a comment and follow me on Bloglovin', Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Thanks for reading!

Friday, 3 April 2015

H&M Bag Giveaway

Fancy a new, neat little bag?



I'm giving away this gorgeous, sleek H&M number and it's so easy to be in with a chance of winning! Simply:

- Retweet any of my tweets about the giveaway
- Follow me on Twitter
- Enter the competition at the bottom of this post
I'm afraid it's only open to UK residents and the winner will be announced on Twitter and Instagram on Saturday 18th April 2015, so stay tuned and good luck!




'Why should I enter?' I hear you ask...

The size of this bag is the best feature as it's small and compact enough to take out with you for drinks in the evening, but it's also got enough room to carry all your essentials with you for a day bag if that's your style.


The sleek black with the gold metal bar gives it a classy look which can easily be teamed up with so many outfits. It's strap isn't long enough to use across the body, but I don't think that's right with this bag, it's more of a one-shoulder look, which it does perfectly so no worries there.

And of course, it's a free bag so why the hell not?!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Fiorelli Bags

I bought my first Fiorelli bag about 15 years ago, which I don't have any more, but I've never stopped loving their diverse range of bags and accessories. I may have gone slightly mad in the last two months alone though, having bought 5 new bags for myself and 2 for my Mum...but I still say you can never have too many!






The quality of the bags is always as you'd expect, and the best part is how affordable they all are. I think there's something for everyone, whatever your style, which is obviously a bit dangerous when you're only looking for one bag, but a great asset to them to be able to cater for so many tastes.  

Reviews of all of these beauties will be here at some point, after I've been able to use each one for more than a day (!), so stay tuned. In the meantime, take a look at some of the gorgeous bags on offer over on Fiorelli.com. I dare you to resist!

Monday, 2 March 2015

Michael Kors Jet Set Tote Review, White

How perfect is this bag? I think you have to agree that the crisp white and clean black lines mixed with the gold detail makes this one of the most stunning Michael Kors bags on offer.



I've had the black version (review here) for a while now, and intended to buy this one instead at the time, but I let my sensible side get the better of me and stuck to the safer colour. However, using the bag for a while, the style and practicalities seemed to fit with everything, from the office or dinner, to shopping or the gym. So I thought it was an obvious decision to buy the white version I so badly wanted in the first place!                          

One of the most valuable features of these Jet Set Totes is the feet, especially with this colour. I still love the variation of pockets, with slim and deep, open pockets against both sides of the bag's interior as well as a large zipped pocket across the whole width. This makes it perfect for taking on your travels and can keep your passport and money safely zipped away but still give you quick access to your phone. Plus, the design so perfectly compliments any outfit you'd wear while waiting to board a flight to Milan or Paris.

The little extras, like the clasp across the top of the bag and the one attached inside for your keys, make you feel as though every improvement you'd make on other bags have been brought into this one, leaving me with no criticisms at all.




I'd definitely recommend this to anyone looking to add a touch of class to your collection, or if you're looking for just one special purchase, whether as a gift for your lucky Mum or just a gift for yourself! They're available in a lot of department stores, but I've found the ranges differ quite a lot, so I'd recommend ordering online to avoid disappointment. The bad news is, I can't seem to find this exact version online at the moment, only the slimmer alternative, but its just a eye-catching!

I'd love to hear if you're thinking of buying one of these beauties or if you already own one, equally, if there's anything you want to know, so leave me a comment or drop me a line on Twitter.

Happy shopping! 


Thursday, 12 February 2015

Blue Vanilla Wishlist (bluevanilla.com)


Whilst doing my usual virtual window shopping, I came across bluevanilla.com, a British fashion website selling quite a few things that are right up my street.

So here's my wishlist...




The 'Two Pocket Buttoned Oversized Cape', in black and grey, £35
This is my favourite - I love oversized cardigans and this one seems to tick all the boxes. 





Left: 'Cream Jumper with Chunky Zip', £22
Right: 'Alexandra Zig Zag Panel Top', £18
I love both of these for a more casual day. The cream jumper for a quick cuppa round the 'rents, and the zig zag top for shopping or a bite to eat at lunch. This could also be dressed up slightly for work wear - definitely hovering over 'add to shopping bag' on this one.



Left: 'Camilla Cream Burnout Sparkle Jumper', £25
Right: 'Lilith Ditsy Baroque Wallpaper Pocket Joggers', in black, £18
Two more casual items, but both able to be dressed up if necessary. The top is just a little different, which is always nice. The joggers are another item about to go into my basket as I'd love these to wear on holidays, whether city breaks or nice hot weeks in the sun.




And the 'Cass Bubble Hem Wrap Metal Cuff Top', £24
I was mainly attracted to this by the metal cuffs, making it stand out more than your average white top. Perfect for a dinner (maybe not spaghetti bolognese!) or a few cocktails.

It's all over on their site so take a look at what they have to offer. Why not have a look at the sale too, but I warn you, I take no responsibility for the lack of control you may experience...!



Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Carvela Kurt Geiger Lock Bag

I bought this Kurt Geiger bag a while ago along with the grey Avalon bowling bag and we've become good friends. The size is so convenient, the colours compliment so many outfits, and the long strap really appeals to the practical side of me.



I took it inside a carry-on case on a one night jolly to Dublin in December and it fitted the bill perfectly. It slotted neatly in my little case while I used a larger handbag for the journey, and as the material is quite rigid it didn't get squashed in the process. Once I arrived at the hotel, I quickly swapped bags and popped my oversized purse, umbrella, passports, phone, camera and gloves inside easily, and perched the bag on my shoulder with the long strap ready to find an Irish breakfast with both hands free to nestle in my warm pockets. 





As the handles sit upright, I was worried they'd start to flop the more I used the bag with the long strap, but that's not the case at all. And I was quite pleasantly surprised by the amount of space inside, plus I think the shape allows you to fill it and still zip the top up without it looking like you've stuffed it to bursting point. There's lining inside the whole bag, and a lined pocket which doesn't have a zip but is great for holding your phone separately. The only criticism I might have is that the front locked pocket won't hold much more than your car parking ticket, but that doesn't really matter. 



This little number also accompanied me to Cornwall over New Year and yet again served its purpose. I know your average shopper or tote is flung over your shoulder leaving your arms free, but it's usually heavier and bulkier so I feel like this smaller bag with a longer strap just makes it so much easier to forget you're even carrying anything, just perfect for a city break or shopping trip.

I only paid £35 for this bag in the sale, but I think it's worth spending more on. And there are so many similar ones on the website right now that you'll be spoiled for choice... hey, why not get two?!

Here's what's currently available...

Alexandra Lock Bag

Annelise Lock Bag - Tan

Dakota Lock Bag - Beige

Dakota Lock Bag - black/other

Annelise Lock Bag - Black

Candis Winged Tote - Beige

Candis Winged Tote - Grey


As usual, leave me a note below as I'd love to hear whether you're leaving me for Kurt Geiger now! 

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

A perm for long, straight hair

Some people are envious of my naturally straight hair but, as usual, I always envied other people’s hair! I’d tried everything to give it some body and bounce, and I mean everything, but nothing ever lasted past a few hours. So when you’re off out for a special occasion and you’ve spent so much time getting in a twist with tongs, rollers and hairspray, it basically sucks when it all falls flat a couple of hours later.

What better way to finally fix my ‘problem’ than by getting a loose perm. I can actually have some body to my hair when it’s down, add texture when it’s up, and blow dry it straight when I want to go back to basics. 

Here’s the before photo…

Because I wanted a loose curl towards the ends, I have virgin hair (no dye etc.), and my hair is so long, a weak solution would be put along each section before curling it up into the roller to enable it to start working on the tips first. It took a while as you can imagine, but once all were in place, the strong solution was spread across everything ready to leave it working its magic for 25 minutes. 

I said no to the stylist taking my photo while looking completely stupid, but after I was left for a few minutes stewing in the rather potent perming solution, I thought hey, why not laugh at myself. So here’s the during photo…



A stiff neck, 3 hours, a new hair dryer and diffuser, and £60 later, I came away from the salon with mixed feelings. It looked nothing like the photos we’d gone through at my consultation, but nothing ever looks like the photos right? It wasn’t curls and more just waves than anything, but that’s still better than boring straight hair, right? And even though I knew I’d never have time to do touch ups every morning, I figured shoving some product in and giving it a scrunch wouldn’t take up too much time… right?

It grew on me through the rest of the evening and after my boyfriend said he liked it, but I was still a tad disappointed that there were no ‘curls’ and definitely not any big, loose curls like I was hoping for. If anything, I was originally worried I’d come out looking like Jennifer Beals in Flashdance, but I would have liked it to have worked better than it did.
I used my straighteners to add curls and it does seem easier than before, and they definitely stay in longer, but it was never my intention to spend 45 minutes at 6.30am curling my permed hair…



And 4 days later, here’s the after photo (having just washed and ‘styled’ it as instructed)…



Some spray-in gel works to hold the 'waves', and that does seem to last all day, but we’re back straight the following morning again! And 4 weeks after the event I’m blow drying my hair with no attachments, with just a bit of root booster in, and it’s turning out straighter than someone’s hair who’s spent ages straightening it. In fact, I’m actually using my straighteners to curl the tips slightly to stop it looking so darn straight!

I was told it would probably last 3 to 4 months, but 3 to 4 weeks, or even days, was more like it. Having started off with healthy, virgin hair, I feel a little as though I’ve damaged my hair for no reason, and have been left with patches where each strand has set at a right angle away from my head where the roller was pinned. Great.

All in all, I don’t think I’ll be trying this again! However, I would love to hear any success stories if you have them, so please do leave me a comment or drop me a line.

Good luck!


Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Leah Lerner Leather Clutch

Having left the heat of Tenerife, arrived back in rainy England, and driven the 3 hours home after getting completely lost, you can imagine how pleased I was to find that my lovely leather Leah Lerner clutch bag had arrived.



Originally being from Minnesota, studying in New York, and moving to Tel Aviv, you get a real feeling that Leah’s designs have been influenced by her experiences in the different cultures, with an underlying theme of simplicity and quality. 


The leather smells exactly as you’d hope, scrumptious, and it feels soft and malleable yet hard wearing too. I love the colour of this bag, the peachy tone is a really nice mid-way for Spring/Summer as well as Autumn/Winter and I don’t think it’s a colour you often see in a clutch bag. I also think the colour as well as the material lends itself to being a day-to-night kind of bag and something you can take to lunch as well as to a swanky restaurant in the evening. It’s a perfect size, not too big that it can’t sit neatly in your grasp but not too small that you can’t fit all your essentials inside. 



(Above photo: Oasis coat, Warehouse scarf)

Leah has kindly embossed her name on one side of the bag and, giving myself the label of ‘Representative for the Midlands’, I’m eagerly awaiting someone to ask me where it’s from and how to find their own.



Here’s how...

The website is currently having a face lift, so in the meantime you can get your hands on the whole range at Etsy...



And follow Leah Lerner on…


I love this clutch, and I honestly love so many of the others on the site. The range is impressive, with what I think is something for everyone, from your more casual totes to patterned or metallic clutches, and even cute purses to accompany them. Perfect if you’re stuck for a Christmas gift, and even better news… there’s now a sale on!

So get yourself over to Etsy and have a gander – I’d be really grateful if you could let me know which are your favourites and whether you gave in to temptation!