My break up with the Cambridge Satchel Company

It is with deepest sadness I have to inform you of my break up with The CSC.

On Friday after a very brief 24 hours notice, they ended their clearance section. What they didn’t warn customers about was their up and coming price increase which came into effect today. Their bags have increased in a rather bizarre fashion, The 11″ has increased by £5, the 13″ by £10, the 14″ by £12 and I can only guess at the 15″ as I didn’t pay much attention to this previously.  The embossing has increased to £7 a letter from £5, and the price cap has increased by £8 to £28 from £20. So the 13″ with embossing which should have cost £118, would now be £136, which is more expensive than buying a 14″ designer satchel at £133* with free embossing. The oxblood is now also £12 more expensive than the other colours as well. For a bag that was £81 or there about last summer, this increase is STEEP.

Had I known about this, I would have purchased a bag sooner, but I had the crazy idea that it would be more fun to buy in person from their Covent Garden store. Silly me, what was I thinking! Those of you who are regular readers of this blog (and indeed have to put up with me on a daily basis) will know how much I have lusted over these bags and driven you all mad talking about them non-stop and may understand exactly how hurt I am and how personally I have taken it.

I am most upset and went as far as to send them a strongly worded email, even including the fact they had failed to update their FAQ to indicate the price increase. They have since fixed their FAQ but no response as of yet. Considering they hold bloggers in high esteem and often thank them for their success, it would appear unless you have millions of followers and a rave review of their bags, they couldn’t care less. Hopefully, they will change my opinion of them somehow, but so far, it’s not looking good.

I am sure after copious amounts of chocolate, alcohol and drunken renditions of ‘All by myself’ followed by ‘Without you’, I’ll be able to move on and find a new bag from another company that will appreciate me more and treat me with the respect I deserve, but right now I just want that one *sobs*. Please be on standby for the follow up ‘what a f***ing liberty’ (anger) and ‘well it was just a stupid bag anyway’ (acceptance) posts.

*Since posting this, the cost of the 14″ designer has now gone up to £135. Only £2 and hardly worth mentioning, but still…

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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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House keeping…

Just a few bits of ‘house keeping’ today, nothing worth a post on its own, but collectively there’s a fair bit to get through:

* Massive thanks everyone for doing the survey, please keep it up! We’re doing well but still need loads more so pretty please with a cherry on top, keep sharing with your friends: https://fatgirlskinnyjeans.wordpress.com/the-survey/

* Update to the ‘you can’t win’ post: I managed to stretch the skinny jeans slightly – the waist is now back to normal but the legs aren’t. Not the end of the world, they look ok, but if anyone has any bright ideas on stretching the legs or what I can put in them whilst damp to keep them stretched out, please leave a comment below or email me at fatgirlskinnyjeansblog@gmail.com.

* After checking out my site stats, I have discovered several people have found us after searching for skinny jeans and Dr Marten’s and I’ve also been contacted via email about this – have I ever worn them together, do they work etc. Can’t say I’ve tried them with the red ones as they might clash but wearing the DMs with the blue skinnies is in fact a favourite combination of mine:

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They also look fab with a dress (especially my black or red skate/fit and flare style dresses) and a pair of leggings.

* I have booked a trip to London later this year (yay) hoping to treat oneself to a Cambridge Satchel from the Covent Garden store, however I am still holding hopeful for one on sale in the clearance section. There has been a few but I’ve either not been quick enough or not comfortable with the cosmetic flaws advertised.

* Please don’t be afraid to comment on posts or contact me via email, I’ve already had a few and I love hearing from you all. Also, feel free to join the conversation on the Facebook group: www.facebook.com/fatgirlskinnyjeans

Hopefully my week off work will bring a proper blog post and denim care tips as well as hopefully a few recommended shops (did I mention I am hopeful?) but for now, I’ll crawl back under my rock and continue stalking the Cambridge Satchel clearance page like a woman possessed…

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