Village England Cranleigh Bag, H&M Keyring

It was suggested that I should do a "What's in my bag post" by Eve on Instagram. And I thought okay, now is as good a time as any as I've just got a new bag and it's looking quite tidy :o) 

Diving in, this is what we have ....

Shall we start with the bag itself?

Well, that's my new Cranleigh bag up there which I received from Village England which is a relatively new English brand. I did know a little about them as I've seen the bags featured on a number of my favourite blogs and I know that Julia Dobson and Eddie Knevett the founders have been clever, done their homework and produced a range of leather bags pitched at the more affordable end of the luxury leather goods market. That's good news for you and me :o) My days of Mulberry are long gone as I feel they've overpriced themselves in recent years but I still want a nice bag at a sensible price.  This is where Village England hopefully fill a gap. And do you like the antiqued brass hardware on the bag? A little bit quirky but smacks of English tradition. This is something which Eddie (he's in charge of the bag designs) has pulled off really well as his business idol is  Sir Paul Smith who he says has managed to create a strong brand with a quirky identity. Yep  Eddie definitely nailed it with the Cranleigh!

Now I picked this little black saddle bag because it's the perfect size and shape for me for me to use every day. Not too big, not too small but spacious enough for me to fit a few things in there comfortably. I went with the black despite it being not the most exciting colour ever but you know what? I like black bags. They rock my world. I also like a messenger strap - I've been going handsfree for the last nine or so years - if you have children, you'll understand and it becomes a hard habit to break. And other things worth a mention include (1) there are no fiddly buckles to deal with as the bag is fastened with a magnetic closure, (2) the heavy antiqued brass finish on the hardware is just perfect as I don't like shiny shiny anyway and (3) the new leather smell. Yep, you've got the real deal there!

Moving on to the actual contents :

Tissues. I pick up a pack of ten from the pound shop and usually have a pack floating around in one of my bags. Where there are boys there is snot.

Maoam Sweets. Keeps them quiet.

Burts Bees Lip Balm in Dahlia. That's the only makeup I carry around with me but it's all I can manage when I'm out of the house anyway. 

Keys. We all have keys.

Purse. This is one I got from Kurt Geiger a few years back and it seems to be holding up quite well. Its quite big but it needs to be to house all my receipts for all my returns. I bet you weren't expecting it to be pink though were you?

Power Bank. Also known as the "life saver". I took this with me when I went camping and you know when you're hanging on to battery life by 1% before your phone conks out - this little gadget saved me and my sanity. Yes it's sad but oh you should have seen the joy when I realised it fitted my phone. I bought it originally for the boy's iPads but found it fitted my Samsung instead #oh_happy_day

Fold up Bag. I went posh and bought myself a little fold up bag that I picked up from Clas Ohlson which I took a shine to just because I liked that zingy shade of green. They do come in handy you know. 

Phone. We can't go anywhere without the phone can we? You can? You have more of a life than me.

Panda Keyring. This was too cute to pass up. Actually that's not true. I passed him up the first time he came out a few months back and then he sold out and then he popped back in store again. So I had to buy him before he sold out again. 

Camera. Not shown in the picture because I was using it to take the picture!

So for a rather compact looking bag ... it fits quite a lot in doesn't it? The most joyous thing is the fact that the days of baby wipes are long gone! Woohoo!

Next coat, Ganni Sweatshirt, Topshop Baxters, Adidas Stan Smiths

Village England Cranleigh Bag available here and here


Last Notes :

Well I've used the bag every day since I've got it - I guess that means it's a goody.

To use the Village England quote on their site, I like that the bag is "not so precious that it can't be thrown in the back of the car" because that's what sometimes happens!

The Village England bags are also available at House of Fraser where there just happens to be a Black Friday promotion going on. Have you seen the jaguar print one? Treat yourself or maybe get writing that letter "Dear Santa ....."

* Cranleigh bag c/o Village England

.... I adopt straight away and use non stop. Like my new Village England Cranleigh bag. And some things I wear two months later like my camel cardigan which I bought in September. What am I like???

Primark Cardi (instore), H&M blouse, H&M Scarf, Topshop Baxter Jeans, Converse
Bag c/o Village England available here and here *

I'll tell you more about my bag another day ;o)

* Thank you to Village England for my Cranleigh bag. 

American Jacksonville Tee available here and here

I wore my American Vintage Jacksonville tee in the last post with the gold cardigan. I've worn it a few times, made a reference to it but haven't actually said much and that's partly because I wanted to wear it a few times, put it through the wash and see how it fared before I passed judgement.

Judgement day has come and the verdict is ....

It's good. It's not the cheapest jersey tee on the block but it's good. Or at least it's good for me. Why? It doesn't cling. It doesn't cling round that pesky bit which tells you I eat doughnuts ... a lot. If you look through my IG feed, you might spot a few doughnuts on there. Some people eat maccarons, I eat full fat doughnuts and I have the waistline to prove it. But that aside, this tee is cut in the most flattering manner. I wasn't expecting too much from it when it arrived originally but once I put it on, I just took it off again and said "It's a keeper". There were no second thoughts and the usual shall I think this through for a few weeks, it was just a keeper. The arms are cut slim but not restrictive because the jersey is soft. And yes the jersey is soft but doesn't seem to lose its stretch so it bags. The cut is almost a-line but not quite - I don't like proper a-line cut tees as they can serve to give you the few months gone look which is not good - been there, done that, worn the maternity tee. And the v-neck is deep enough without being vulgar and gently shaped - there's been some thought in the design of this tee.

It's a cotton mix - 52% cotton, 48% viscose - hence how soft and fluid it is. I wondered if it might shrink a little when I washed it - it doesn't appear to have and more importantly it hasn't got that bobbling which does happen on some jersey fabrics. I like it. They are thin though so a few washes down, I may be singing a different tune.

For the record, I'm a size 10 with a doughnut tyre round the middle. I'm wearing a size small and it fits well. Mine is the colour "carbone" which is like a soft washed black/almost charcoal grey. The perfect in-between shade when black is too black and you don't want grey.

Okay so I washed my hair last night before I went to bed and slept on it kind of funny. And I look kind of dishevelled, tired and like I just rolled in from the night before but coupled with the metallic gold cardigan I just dug out of a box, I think it helps with the whole rock chick. Don't you?

Go with it.

Hobbs NW3 Metallic Cardigan (old), American Vintage Jacksonville Tee
Topshop Baxter Jeans, Next Cheetah Pumps (old)

I think someone up there controlling the weather just got the heating bill and switched the sun off. Brrrr! 

Zara parka (old), M&S Cashmere Jumper (old), H&M Pleather Leggings (old), 
Sorels (old), Uniqlo Extra Warm Heat Tech vest (old and not seen), Model (old)

I have to say this makes standing out there on a freezing cold Saturday morning watching your little beloveds play football, absolutely no fun whatsoever. So to "ease" the pain and the cold, I popped on my Uniqlo extra warm heat tech yesterday. I think they're brilliant and I got mine last year partly out of curiosity as I wanted to see what the difference was. This is the vest I now make a beeline for when there's a distinct chill factor in the air - icicles off the end of your nose are a good barometer. You will also notice the difference immediately when you get the extra warm version compared to the regular one as apart from being a fraction thicker, the inside of them is a slightly fleecy/almost brushed kind of texture which makes them very soft and cosy.

So ..... when it's a south easterly wind with light moderate showers, I would recommend regular heat tech.

And when it's a north easterly wind with heavy rain persisting, I would recommend extra warm heat tech. And throw in a Ultra Light Down jacket whilst you're there ;o)  


Last Note :

The regular heat tech vests appear to be on offer at the moment and are down from £12.90 to £9.90.

Hmmm. Tricky one this. I put out an IG post and it was a little tongue in cheek with me saying that I didn't go to nice bloggy events and have nice goodie bags and my lot was the grand opening of a local Aldi where I received a free bag for life and a trolley token. To be honest, I was quite made up - I've finally got an Aldi in the neighbourhood. Woohoo! 

What I hadn't anticipated was the lovely comments I got from many IG followers saying that they liked my blog for keeping it real and that it wasn't full of freebies. I wasn't actually complaining - believe me, if I lived a little closer to London where all the events are, I would think about popping in to the odd one. I'm nosey like that ;o) But thank you all - it means a lot that you enjoy the blog - it's my little happy space. And as for keeping it real - it's my life - it's probably a lot like yours. Kids play up, I eat cheese and onion Walkers crips, I drink a lot of Earl Grey tea. I like to think I'm fairly normal.

But but ... for the record, I never ever said I wouldn't take or promote anything from a brand - I just haven't found anything suitable to date which I thought I could write about convincingly that I really liked. I would do it but it has to be in keeping with my style though and what works for me day to day. I think you can tell when I'm delighted with something and if I think it's good, I'm usually happy to share my finds. I like to think I have a fairly well trained eye from days of old when I could indulge in more expensive things but I have a more modest budget these days than when I worked but I have a much happier life for being a SAHM. So I buy a lot at the cheaper end of the high street and then I supplement with the odd pricier item which I think merits the extra spend. 

What I'm trying to say is please don't ever be surprised if one day I do a review - I may actually find something I like but if I do, it's not that I've changed, I haven't, it's just someone actually approached me whose products I can identify with or like. I just thought I'd put it out there. I have this discussion with the hubs sometimes saying I've been offered something and he asks if I'm going to do it and the answer is usually "no - it's not me, I don't wear that kind of thing" and he says "true - I can't see you in that".

For the record, I don't have an issue with blog posts which contain gifted items especially if I can see that this works well with the blogger and their style - and some brands need a little exposure from different parties to show how their products can be worn and styled in a way I wouldn't have considered myself due to my own preconceived notions about them. 

Lastly, I don't actually have an issue with bloggers receiving/promoting gifted items as long as it's transparent and this might have something to do with the fact that I blog myself but it has to be recognised that for some bloggers out there, it is also their livelihood and it's not realistic to think they can fund everything. And they need blog content and we need to know what lovely things there are out there - why else do we read?

I hear shearling is back in again! Which is great because I've been wearing this coat for the last three years because it keeps me warm despite it looking like I take my fashion cues from Del Boy and sometimes feeling a bit of a plonker. ;o)

Barneys Original Faux Shearling Coat (old), Primark khaki jumper, Zara self patched jeans (old), Next Cheetah pumps (old)


Last Notes :

I also have a real shearling one handed down from my sis but I prefer my faux one as it's lighter and easier to wear.

I also like these two :

Topshop Faux Shearling Car Coat (This is really cute)

Hi there!

Hi, I'm Sue.

Mum to Ben & George, married to the Grumps, living in suburbia, somewhere in the north of England.


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