Seriously Max Factor?!

Apparently Max Factor have run out of names for their products…

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Oh Cambridge Satchel Company, how I loathe thee…

I am the kind of person who thinks getting back with an ex is like putting on your dirty under crackers after a shower, which is why it will come as a shock to you all (probably not)  that I caved and briefly got back together with the Cambridge Satchel Company and purchased a bag…

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This lovely 14” purple classic satchel comes courtesy of my fabulous husband, and is my new best friend. Now the customer service was brill, the girls in store knew their product and were happy to let you fondle the bags and try them on in front of the mirror. However…

I was highly disappointed when they said for 8 letters or more embossing, they would need to get ‘a quote’ and not the new and higher £28 cap. I was told it would be £35, but the overall price she quoted was way higher. I realised afterwards that was actually too high and a lot more than the extra £7. So £35 from the original max of £20 from a few weeks ago –yeah right! I still fail to see how it is suddenly worth that much extra.  I told them I would just leave the bag, as regardless of the letter count it is still only £28 online and attempted to walk out, but the manager kindly waved the extra and said, “it’s only £7” to which I pointed out “I don’t earn much money, to me £7 is a lot” I however was cut off before I managed to point out £7 on top of their recent increases was sheer greed! They said it was because it takes a lot of their time, but as the shop was incredibly quiet, they were hardly rushed off their feet with purchases of satchels and orders of embossing.

And then, just to add insult to injury, they are having their ‘end of season’ sale as of today! Why mid week?! That’s a tad bizarre and horrible to behold, knowing EXACTLY how much my bag ended up costing.

I love my bag, despite the fact it’s very heavy, and hard to fit things into as the leather needs time to soften and stretch. It smells amazing and feels like it will last a long, long time but I doubt I’ll be buying another unless it is in the clearance. So many people have ‘bigged up’ the company, raved about their amazing customer service and how the price is amazing in comparison to their quality, but I just feel highly disappointed. I really do love my bag and will be using it for my work bag (its bigger than the little one I wanted for just nipping out with, so a bit too heavy for running to the shops etc) job interviews and for travel, I just feel very disappointed and somewhat heartbroken with a company who I have championed for what feels like a long time.

So thus proving that is ALWAYS a bad idea to get back together with an ex, even if they do make very lovely bags…*sigh*

Facing the demons and the Yorkshire Soap Company

As you know I went with some friends back to the place that started this blog. We somehow successfully avoided any clothes shops and decided to stick to nice smelling shops and pubs (not necessarily nice smelling). We did however manage to visit one particularly interesting shop: The Yorkshire Soap Company.

The shop was epic. Classical music floods your ears as you peruse the vast expanse of soaps and ‘bath truffles’.

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The products are displayed in an amazing fashion, on cake stands and in bell jars on a piano.  The smell is amazing; floral, delicious, yet mellow. It was hard to decide where to look next, with such a variety of colours, shapes, textures and smells. Everywhere we turned customers were taking photographs of pretty much everything in sight, which was handy as it made me feel much less conspicuous. The shop oozes class and charm in spades and as if it couldn’t get anymore classy, this shop does not contain baskets, no, to purchase your items you take them to the till on nothing less than a silver platter!

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It was an exciting experience, thus proving I am in fact a classy bird. It was possibly too posh for the likes of even me mind, so we decided to tone it down afterwards by buying a pasty.

I also spied several Cambridge Satchels on my travels during the day, a gorgeous red 13″ with gold embossing, and later on an 11″ pink metallic. Both very pretty, the red especially. Whilst on the topic of the Cambridge Satchel Company, they have rather sadly ended their clearance section. This means, unfortunately, I am being forced to buy a full priced satchel…such a shame…

Shopping in your own wardrobe!

You could say (or at least I would) that it was fate that my handbag broke, that it was a sign (or at least the perfect excuse) that I should buy that Cambridge that I’ve been lusting after. However, I’ve taken the opportunity to follow the trend for ‘shopping in your own wardrobe’.

I rooted through our downstairs cupboard and the unopened boxes from our move last year (we’re bad, I know) in an attempt to find a bag. I pulled out my purple patent leather ‘smart’ bag, a bag I bought with my mum when shopping for an outfit for a job interview (for the job I currently have) but last time it was used ‘for best’ was about 2 years ago. So I’ve taken the opportunity to use it for work.

The bag

It is rather lovely and as one of the most expensive bags I own, was the last bag I truly lusted after. I saw it in House of Fraser during a shopping trip with bird, but decided (being unemployed at the time) that there was no way I could afford it. I had wondered if I could get it for Christmas, but even then, being flat broke, it would be stupid to waste that kind of money on a bag I couldn’t afford to take anywhere nice (she is a lady after all). However, shopping for interview clothes in the January sales proved to be genius when I came across it with a 30% discount tag. Mum agreed that if there was money left over from my suit, I could spend it on any accessories I may need. One suit and a pair of fabulous boots later, there was enough for the bag. I was even more excited at the till when it proved to have been discounted further and was in fact 50% off.

I really do love this bag, and can’t believe that I’ve let it sit in a cupboard for so long. I know I wanted to keep it smart, but it has unfortunately been squashed a bit and now also smells a bit musty from being kept in our moldy old flat (we have a rather lovely house now, that doesn’t smell). It seems silly to let it sit, sad and alone in a box when she could be keeping me company on a regular basis. So out she comes! Conveniently, the shade of purple perfectly matches my leather kindle case, as well as the new Kipling purse I have recently purchased.

It was during this rifling that I also managed to dig out an old band t-shirt I loved, but didn’t fit properly (I got it on eBay and it was only available in the one size) I was convinced I’d slim into it one day. Well, it turns out that today is in fact one day (or rather bank holiday Monday was) as it now fits and looks awesome!

I will at some point have a proper mooch and see what other gems I can find! Rifling through your stuff is in fact genius, I thoroughly recommend it!

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The most surprisingly anti-climatic trip to a shopping centre ever…

The rather lovely and large women's jean section in Next...

The rather lovely and large women’s jean section in Next…

This is not the post I expected to be writing today. Today, I expected a denim extravaganza. Bird and I had planned to try on as many pairs of jeans in as many shops as possible, whilst taking photos, possibly video footage and to put together a post of our epic adventure.

So off bird and I went, on our ‘epic’ shopping trip. The plan was, as I said, to visit as many shops as possible to try on/buy jeans (and many other places to boot) but… we didn’t get that far. I went armed with my camera, ready for us to try many jeans on. Unfortunately, there weren’t that many worth trying. Also, Next suck.

Allow me to tell you why. I have yet to find a pair of jeans in my size there, despite claiming that they do sell them. Their larger sizes (which, like their smallest sizes are only available in regular and long, both tall and petite have a reduced size range) appear to only ever be available online. This is a pain, as needing a shorter leg length I would have to try their regular jeans on.

...and not a single pair in my size!

…and not a single pair in my size!

I am sick and tired of forever being redirected to some store’s website, then going through the faff of having to order them, then return them and quite often pay the return postage as well or sometimes in a sneaky fashion, find after having returned them to the store for convenience (and thinking for free) that the return postage costs have been deducted from my refund. Frankly, that’s just plain rude if you have no intention of stocking those sizes in your store!

Plus, they stock many number of tops up to a size 22 in store, but no jeans over a size 18 (I have noted some do go up to a 20, but no larger). In my experience, very few people are smaller on bottom than top. If not the same size, they tend to be larger. So what do Next think customers who will be buying their larger tops will be able to wear on their bottom half, if they fail to stock them?! I am highly disappointed; I was looking forward to trying a pair from this range:

Lift & shape? Sounds good to me!

Lift & shape? Sounds good to me!

I consoled myself with an epic amount of Lush, plus a few bits and pieces for the husband’s and nieceling numero uno’s birthdays. We also had a good giggle trying on these shoes (or rather I had a good giggle at bird trying on these shoes):

Holy foot pain Batman!

Holy foot pain Batman!

Cambridge Satchels…why I want one of these bad boys, and I mean WANT!!!!

Like many people, the Cambridge Satchel Company first came to my attention when during a visit the cinema, the Google Chrome Advert was shown. My friend, ‘Bird’ and I were immediately excited, having been fans of the latest trend for the satchel, we both were keen to go for the original and best.

Julie Deane had been looking for a good quality satchel for her children as her son and daughter were both keen for bags like the characters in ‘Harry Potter’. Meanwhile, her daughter was being viciously bullied at school and Julie wanted nothing more than to send her to the local private school. It was because of this, that on her list of ideas to raise the money for the £12,000 a year fees, she wrote ‘sell traditional satchels’. She started the company with a meagre £600 and was selling one bag a week. Now, the company has its own shop in Covent Garden, makes £12 Million a year, and 900 bags a day of all colours and sizes, not just the original traditional style.

Which to choose...the Vintage Satchel - picture from www.cambridgesatchel.com

Which to choose…the Vintage Satchel – picture from http://www.cambridgesatchel.com

I have always wanted a satchel style bag, even when in school, but settled for whatever was available and a good enough brand to not be laughed at or picked on myself. Maybe for me too it was the Harry Potter effect, but perhaps also a bit of OCD – I like to neatly organise everything in my handbag in order of size and like it to stay that way, in the position in which I have placed it. It frequently irritates me when they slip down or get moved around. I love the idea that with the rigid style satchel, everything will stay neatly where it’s been placed. Now, as a ‘grown up’ (allegedly I am, though I’m shocked too) I really, really want one.

Unfortunately, having visited the site repeatedly and also having visited ASOS, one of their retailers, I have been shocked by the price. I have watched several videos on YouTube all made with the last year, some 6 months old, to see what can be fit into the different sizes to get an idea of which to buy. The bag size I like appears to have been almost £20 cheaper within this time. Personally I, being of a low-end budget, find this to be an incredibly steep increase. A bag which would have cost roughly £80 then, is now £98 (and that’s just for the classic style, expect to pay a chunk more for the other designs/styles). That price difference would have paid for the embossing and personalisation of the bag that I clearly will have to go for (no point doing it by halves). Though in comparison to the top designers, this is actually a bargain especially for such a good quality, British made bag that will in fact last a very long time and often look even better with signs of aging, I just happen to be of limited means.

I quite like the look of a vintage 13”, the traditional chestnut-brown coloured bag which would be perfect for work, with silver embossing on it. Though, I have since seen several purple with the silver and they look stunning. Now at that price, I doubt I can afford one without selling part of my liver (I am saving my kidney for a special occasion) so there is next to no chance I would be buying two. Vintage, would be more traditional, probably go with more outfits, but purple seems more personal and more exciting, a bit more unique. Though, the vintage would add to the ‘Paddington Bear’ theme I have going on with the red Doc Martens. Regardless, my choice of bag may be have to be limited to be affordable…enter the clearance section!

Or the purple satchel - picture from www.cambridgesatchel.com

Or the purple satchel – picture from http://www.cambridgesatchel.com

This genius little part of their site (which can be found at https://www.cambridgesatchel.com/clearance/) houses bags which are at the end of their line such as limited editions and nearly perfect bags that have marks or scuffs or wonky stitching etc. but at a lovely discounted price. The section is updated twice weekly with new additions and others being removed once they have been claimed. So ladies and gents (as these bags are fabulously unisex) if you like me, are of a low budget but want one of these beauties, keep your eyes peeled and you could grab yourself a bargain! I however, will be scrimping, saving, praying to the lottery Gods and generally scheming to get my mitts on one (unless some kind soul out there decides to treat me…)

References:           

The Cambridge Satchel Company https://www.cambridgesatchel.com/ accessed 07/05/13

Daily Mail: Mum who couldn’t afford daughter’s school fees makes £12million a year selling satchels http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2245651/Cambridge-Satchel-Company-mum-afford-daughters-school-fees-makes-12m-year.html accessed 07/05/13

The Cambridge Satchel Company’s starring role http://fashion.telegraph.co.uk/news-features/TMG9511851/The-Cambridge-Satchel-Companys-starring-role.html accessed 07/05/13