Fashionista Barbie http://fashionistabarbieuk.com UK fashion, beauty and lifestyle blog Fri, 27 May 2016 17:05:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://i1.wp.com/fashionistabarbieuk.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/favicon.png?fit=32%2C32 Fashionista Barbie http://fashionistabarbieuk.com 32 32 Friday Favourites: All About Shirt Dresses http://fashionistabarbieuk.com/2016/05/friday-favourites-shirt-dresses/ http://fashionistabarbieuk.com/2016/05/friday-favourites-shirt-dresses/#comments Fri, 27 May 2016 17:05:27 +0000 http://fashionistabarbieuk.com/?p=55759 I’m all about one-step dressing and it doesn’t get any easier than throwing on one of these shirt dresses with a pair of white trainers for a relaxed, understated look that’s perfect for the summer. Shirt dresses, whether you opt for classic stripes, think menswear with a little more length and a sleeker silhouette, or...

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shirt dresses, friday favourites, shopping picks, fashionista barbie, asos

I’m all about one-step dressing and it doesn’t get any easier than throwing on one of these shirt dresses with a pair of white trainers for a relaxed, understated look that’s perfect for the summer. Shirt dresses, whether you opt for classic stripes, think menswear with a little more length and a sleeker silhouette, or utilitarian in a khaki or cream hue, or why not go a little retro with a full-on bold print, or opt for a block lighter colour to embrace the warmer climates. I like easy dressing and with these beauties all you need to do is button up and go. This week’s Friday Favourites I’ve highlighted my six key buys, but because I’m a little obsessed with shirt dresses I’ve added more in the shopping panel at the bottom for more options – so there will be a shirt dress out there for you.

6 Adorable Shirt Dresses

shirt dresses, friday favourites, shopping picks, fashionista barbie, asos, topshop, finery, boden, boohoo

Shirt Dresses: 1. ASOS – Cold Shoulder Frill Sleeve Shirt Dress, £38 // 2. Finery – Akerman Cut About Stripe Belted Shirt Dress, £69 // 3. Topshop Unique – Dorney Shirt Dress, £125 // 4. Boden – Sophia Shirt Dress, £79.50 // 5. ASOS – Shirt Dress with Tab Detail, £38 // 6. Boohoo – Lace Up Shirt Dress, £25 //

Top of my shopping list this week has to be this adorable frill-sleeved pale blue shirt dress from Asos. This combines my other love the cold shoulder trend with a classic shirt dress for a totally adorable update and I love the loose fit. This for me is a what you add to your suitcase for a city break this summer, the lightweight woven fabric will be perfect for checking out the sights. Team with trainers or sandals. The beauty of this dress is that it doesn’t require any additional fuss, the ruffle is all it needs. 

For lovers of stripes I have two great options, the first is from Finery, I’m obsessed with its contrasting colours and clashing panels, this is chic to another level, perfect for work. After a more menswear-inspired look that’s crisp and classic then you can’t go wrong with this Topshop Unique beauty, granted the most expensive on my wishlist, but come on the tailored look with the contrasting belt makes it so cool. 

A more feminine silhouette when it comes to shirt dresses has to be the tea dress and Boden does this so well and its Sophia style is perfection, super flattering with its gathered waist and wrap skirt, plus it comes in four options, my favourite being this vintage denim for a great day dress, I love the contrasting belt, but you can also go for a blue or yellow print or a lovely classic white.

For simple, sleek styles try this girlie pale pink shirt dress from Asos, I love the colour as well as the loose silhouette and the tab detailing to the sleeves, or why not opt for this slightly sexy white number from Boohoo, the lace-up detailing down the sides adds something a little different, maybe give it a menswear-inspired touch by gathering it in at the waist with one your boyfriends ties. 

Are you a fan of shirt dresses?

For more shirt dresses – scroll through my shopping panel below:

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The Gardening Society – John Lewis Rooftop http://fashionistabarbieuk.com/2016/05/the-gardening-society-john-lewis/ http://fashionistabarbieuk.com/2016/05/the-gardening-society-john-lewis/#comments Thu, 26 May 2016 16:42:32 +0000 http://fashionistabarbieuk.com/?p=55729 If I said to you that there was a secret English garden on London’s busiest shopping street, Oxford Street, would you believe me? Well, this is what’s hiding up on the rooftop of John Lewis. For the summer, the retailer has transformed its rooftop with beautiful flowers, hidden little nooks to watch the sunset, and even...

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The Gardening Society, Rooftop, London, John Lewis, Rooftop Garden, Secret Garden, Oxford Street, Things to do in London, Summer, Pop-up, Best rooftop in London

If I said to you that there was a secret English garden on London’s busiest shopping street, Oxford Street, would you believe me? Well, this is what’s hiding up on the rooftop of John Lewis. For the summer, the retailer has transformed its rooftop with beautiful flowers, hidden little nooks to watch the sunset, and even added a vegetable patch for its The Gardening Society pop-up concept, which will host three restaurants – The Dairy, B.O.B.’s Lobster and Shotgun.

This place is a little slice of the countryside, designed by Tony Woods, a former RHS national young garden designer of the year, and it has everything from vibrant flowers to potted trees and shrubbery, there’s even a vegetable and herb garden, plus beehives. As well as little sheltered spots including The Den and The Secret Garden, where you feel like you are in your own garden, just at the top of one of London’s department stores on one of the city’s busiest shopping streets, which FYI you totally forget is below. It’s a sanctuary and on a gloriously sunny day, this place is going to be the hot spot for a delicious cocktail or two, or on a Tuesday morning a yoga class.

The Gardening Society, Rooftop, London, John Lewis, Rooftop Garden, Secret Garden, Oxford Street, Things to do in London, Summer, Pop-up, Best rooftop in London The Gardening Society, Rooftop, London, John Lewis, Rooftop Garden, Secret Garden, Oxford Street, Things to do in London, Summer, Pop-up, Best rooftop in London

The first restaurant is The Dairy, from May 27, with its “back to basics” style food, the sample menu includes sour potato flatbread, crab crackers, smoked cod and fried bread, Welsh lamb ribs, as well as English strawberries with yoghurt ice cream. On the night I seemed to miss most of the food except the seriously dreamy sour apple and elderflower popsicles, how great do these look. From June 27, B.O.B.’s Lobster will be serving its signature seafood rolls and fish tacos and then from August 1, Shotgun takes over with its low and slow barbecue cooking serving brisket and pork belly.

Each restaurant will be accompanied by a cocktail menu from Background Bars, the team behind Night Tales, using herbs grown and freshly picked from The Gardening Society’s garden. For June, expect seasonal takes on classic British tipples including the Sunday Tonic, a ginger infused gin, rhubarb, homemade tonic bitters and Fentiman’s tonic. Also, try Carlsberg’s new refreshing craft beer, Shed Head, an American pale ale brewed in Sweden. For during the day try one of their healthy juices.

I attended the launch event with friends and we were discussing the fact that actually there is a lack of good rooftops in London, compared to say New York, and it’s so nice to have a little haven in the centre of town, especially one that has such a great line-up of restaurants, and I can’t wait to come back and try each one. But if like me you like to plan ahead, I snapped a lot of pictures, mainly because it was so beautiful, I really do love the concept, and make sure you check out every last bit as The Gardening Society is surprisingly big, and also don’t forget to pick up yourself a plant from its garden in the far corner, then you can have a slice of the secret garden at home.
 
As well as food and drink, there is also a little gardening shop selling John Lewis’ cute gardening gear, perfect for gifts, as well as some floral homeware pieces. Definitely, make sure you hit up The Gardening Society before it closes the rooftop garden on September 4, even if you just go up to admire the view across London. 

Are you planning a trip to The Gardening Society at John Lewis Oxford Street this summer?

The Gardening Society, Rooftop, London, John Lewis, Rooftop Garden, Secret Garden, Oxford Street, Things to do in London, Summer, Pop-up, Best rooftop in LondonThe Gardening Society, Rooftop, London, John Lewis, Rooftop Garden, Secret Garden, Oxford Street, Things to do in London, Summer, Pop-up, Best rooftop in LondonThe Gardening Society, Rooftop, London, John Lewis, Rooftop Garden, Secret Garden, Oxford Street, Things to do in London, Summer, Pop-up, Best rooftop in London

The Gardening Society John Lewis roof garden and restaurant will open Thursday to Saturday, midday to 11pm (last entry 10pm), midday until 8pm Monday to Wednesday and midday to 6pm Sunday. Bookings for the restaurant is advisable, but there is space reserved for walk-ins throughout the summer – head on over to www.johnlewis.com/thegardeningsociety to book.

The Gardening Society, Rooftop, London, John Lewis, Rooftop Garden, Secret Garden, Oxford Street, Things to do in London, Summer, Pop-up, Best rooftop in London The Gardening Society, Rooftop, London, John Lewis, Rooftop Garden, Secret Garden, Oxford Street, Things to do in London, Summer, Pop-up, Best rooftop in London The Gardening Society, Rooftop, London, John Lewis, Rooftop Garden, Secret Garden, Oxford Street, Things to do in London, Summer, Pop-up, Best rooftop in London The Gardening Society, Rooftop, London, John Lewis, Rooftop Garden, Secret Garden, Oxford Street, Things to do in London, Summer, Pop-up, Best rooftop in London

The Gardening Society, Rooftop, London, John Lewis, Rooftop Garden, Secret Garden, Oxford Street, Things to do in London, Summer, Pop-up, Best rooftop in LondonThe Gardening Society, Rooftop, London, John Lewis, Rooftop Garden, Secret Garden, Oxford Street, Things to do in London, Summer, Pop-up, Best rooftop in London

The Gardening Society, Rooftop, London, John Lewis, Rooftop Garden, Secret Garden, Oxford Street, Things to do in London, Summer, Pop-up, Best rooftop in London The Gardening Society, Rooftop, London, John Lewis, Rooftop Garden, Secret Garden, Oxford Street, Things to do in London, Summer, Pop-up, Best rooftop in London

The Gardening Society, Rooftop, London, John Lewis, Rooftop Garden, Secret Garden, Oxford Street, Things to do in London, Summer, Pop-up, Best rooftop in LondonThe Gardening Society, Rooftop, London, John Lewis, Rooftop Garden, Secret Garden, Oxford Street, Things to do in London, Summer, Pop-up, Best rooftop in LondonThe Gardening Society, Rooftop, London, John Lewis, Rooftop Garden, Secret Garden, Oxford Street, Things to do in London, Summer, Pop-up, Best rooftop in LondonThe Gardening Society, Rooftop, London, John Lewis, Rooftop Garden, Secret Garden, Oxford Street, Things to do in London, Summer, Pop-up, Best rooftop in LondonThe Gardening Society, Rooftop, London, John Lewis, Rooftop Garden, Secret Garden, Oxford Street, Things to do in London, Summer, Pop-up, Best rooftop in London

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My Harriet Sanders Bucket Bag http://fashionistabarbieuk.com/2016/05/bucket-bag-harriet-sanders/ http://fashionistabarbieuk.com/2016/05/bucket-bag-harriet-sanders/#respond Wed, 25 May 2016 17:15:21 +0000 http://fashionistabarbieuk.com/?p=55705 I’ve always had a soft spot for the bucket bag, maybe it’s the shape, it’s a like a chic rucksack, it holds just as much but without the two strap action, then there’s the fact you can literally fill it up and it retains that elegant drape, basically I’m nominating its cool, casual style and...

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Bucket Bag, Harriet Sanders, Asos, Floral Trousers, Converse, Lensway, Fashionista Barbie, Style Post, Outfit, Fashion Blogger, Style Blogger, Top UK Blogger, Top Fashion Blogger

I’ve always had a soft spot for the bucket bag, maybe it’s the shape, it’s a like a chic rucksack, it holds just as much but without the two strap action, then there’s the fact you can literally fill it up and it retains that elegant drape, basically I’m nominating its cool, casual style and roomy interior as the perfect day bag. You stash your goodies, tighten the drawstrings, throw it over your shoulder and go, what could be better than that! For me, the love of the bucket bag comes from it being a classic, get it in the right colour and quality material and it will last you a lifetime, which is probably why it was so hard for me to decide on my colour scheme when designing my custom Harriet Sanders.

Last week, I shared a little interview I did with Harriet, an incredible handbag designer who makes all of her bags by hand here in the UK, and I promised to share with you a better look at my bucket bag, and explain why I went for a navy and blush pink combination. Well, first up, why the hell not. Secondly, I have a love for navy, it’s classic, always ages well I find, and I love how it works with pink, hence my outfit choice, seriously how adorable are these Asos floral trousers, I can’t believe I had forgotten about them. 

With Harriet Sanders ‘Design Your Own’ service you get to choose the body colour, pocket/strap colour, and lining colour of your bucket bag. There are so many choices to go for, from summery coral to a gorgeous green, both of which tempted me, but in the end, I decided that navy was more classic and the whole point of a bucket bag is that it isn’t following trends, it has an uncluttered look and the colour needs to reflect that I think. Then the pocket and strap colour was between the vibrant yellow  and the baby blue at first, and I think if it was just the pocket the yellow would have won, but I just felt it was a little too much with the strap. Then when I thought I’d settled on the baby blue I became obsessed with this blush hue and I’m so pleased I did as I love the bold navy teamed with a pastel colour, the two colours just really work, plus they look incredible against the bright pink lining. 

I have, to be honest, I’ve been crushing hard for a Mansur Gavriel bucket bag for a while, I know, I know, what a fashion cliché I am, they are the fashion week ‘It’ bag, but with it coming close to £500 I’ve always talked myself out of it. I think that’s what I love about this Harriet Sanders version, it’s personalised to me, I love the addition of the pocket, and it’s a fraction of the price and you can feel good in knowing that it was all made here in the UK. That’s not to say I won’t add a Mansur Gavriel in the future, one can dream, especially with my birthday coming up next week, but for now, you’ll probably see me attached at the hip, quite literally to my gorgeous Harriet Sanders bucket bag. 

Do you have a soft spot for the bucket bag? Also, what do you think of my colour choice for my Harriet Sanders beauty?

Bucket Bag, Harriet Sanders, Asos, Floral Trousers, Converse, Lensway, Fashionista Barbie, Style Post, Outfit, Fashion Blogger, Style Blogger, Top UK Blogger, Top Fashion BloggerBucket Bag, Harriet Sanders, Asos, Floral Trousers, Converse, Lensway, Fashionista Barbie, Style Post, Outfit, Fashion Blogger, Style Blogger, Top UK Blogger, Top Fashion Blogger

My Style: Bucket Bag, Harriet Sanders (c/o) // Floral Trousers, Asos // Pink Top, Asos // White Trainers, Converse (c/o) // Sunglasses, Lensway (c/o) // Necklace, Accessorize (c/o) // Watch, Stella & Dot (c/o) //

Bucket Bag, Harriet Sanders, Asos, Floral Trousers, Converse, Lensway, Fashionista Barbie, Style Post, Outfit, Fashion Blogger, Style Blogger, Top UK Blogger, Top Fashion BloggerBucket Bag, Harriet Sanders, Asos, Floral Trousers, Converse, Lensway, Fashionista Barbie, Style Post, Outfit, Fashion Blogger, Style Blogger, Top UK Blogger, Top Fashion Blogger

Bucket Bag, Harriet Sanders, Asos, Floral Trousers, Converse, Lensway, Fashionista Barbie, Style Post, Outfit, Fashion Blogger, Style Blogger, Top UK Blogger, Top Fashion Blogger Bucket Bag, Harriet Sanders, Asos, Floral Trousers, Converse, Lensway, Fashionista Barbie, Style Post, Outfit, Fashion Blogger, Style Blogger, Top UK Blogger, Top Fashion Blogger


Bucket Bag, Harriet Sanders, Asos, Floral Trousers, Converse, Lensway, Fashionista Barbie, Style Post, Outfit, Fashion Blogger, Style Blogger, Top UK Blogger, Top Fashion BloggerBucket Bag, Harriet Sanders, Asos, Floral Trousers, Converse, Lensway, Fashionista Barbie, Style Post, Outfit, Fashion Blogger, Style Blogger, Top UK Blogger, Top Fashion Blogger

Bucket Bag, Harriet Sanders, Asos, Floral Trousers, Converse, Lensway, Fashionista Barbie, Style Post, Outfit, Fashion Blogger, Style Blogger, Top UK Blogger, Top Fashion Blogger Bucket Bag, Harriet Sanders, Asos, Floral Trousers, Converse, Lensway, Fashionista Barbie, Style Post, Outfit, Fashion Blogger, Style Blogger, Top UK Blogger, Top Fashion Blogger

Bucket Bag, Harriet Sanders, Asos, Floral Trousers, Converse, Lensway, Fashionista Barbie, Style Post, Outfit, Fashion Blogger, Style Blogger, Top UK Blogger, Top Fashion Blogger

Bucket Bag, Harriet Sanders, Asos, Floral Trousers, Converse, Lensway, Fashionista Barbie, Style Post, Outfit, Fashion Blogger, Style Blogger, Top UK Blogger, Top Fashion Blogger Bucket Bag, Harriet Sanders, Asos, Floral Trousers, Converse, Lensway, Fashionista Barbie, Style Post, Outfit, Fashion Blogger, Style Blogger, Top UK Blogger, Top Fashion Blogger

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Essie x Rankin Photo Shoot http://fashionistabarbieuk.com/2016/05/essie-x-rankin-photo-shoot/ http://fashionistabarbieuk.com/2016/05/essie-x-rankin-photo-shoot/#comments Mon, 23 May 2016 15:40:33 +0000 http://fashionistabarbieuk.com/?p=55682 I’ve been blogging for over 7 years, there have been some incredible moments over the years, and having my photo taken by the iconic fashion photographer, Rankin is definitely up there as one to remember. The shoot was part of Essie’s launch of its new Gel Couture polishes, a gel-like formula that offers a thick,...

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essie-rankin-shoot-chosen-pic

I’ve been blogging for over 7 years, there have been some incredible moments over the years, and having my photo taken by the iconic fashion photographer, Rankin is definitely up there as one to remember. The shoot was part of Essie’s launch of its new Gel Couture polishes, a gel-like formula that offers a thick, glossy, long-wearing finish, and comes in a couture-like twisted bottle. To celebrate the new range, which hits the UK on June 1, I got to join a host of other bloggers and beauty editors and have my photo taken. It was such a fun event, I was treated to having my hair and make-up done, I got to try the new colours, I went for Essie Gel Couture Twill Seeker, as well meet Rankin, who was super lovely. 

I have, to be honest, I know I take my picture a lot for style posts and of course the odd Instagram selfie, but there’s something so nerve-wracking about getting in front of Rankin holding a camera in a full-on studio set-up, and then remember to smile, have fun with it, oh and show off those Essie nails. I have to give it to Rankin and his team, they quickly made me feel at ease, helped me along with the poses, made me feel beautiful in the process, and actually made me giggle my way through my speedy shoot. Then I got to go through the pictures with Rankin, and the picture above is the one that he chose, he said he loved the pose and positioning of my hands. 

We only got one picture, which is such a shame, there were four I really liked, so I quickly snapped the ones I loved off the computer screen, so I could share with you some of the other images, so that’s why they don’t look as professional as my usual pictures. I also shared on Twitter a quick click-through of my shoot, which I’m so pleased that I didn’t look as awkward as I thought I was going to be.

I promise a closer a look at the Essie Gel Couture collection soon, but I just wanted to share my fabulous shoot with Rankin, I’m so pleased with the outcome, and it’s nice to know that someone I’ve admired, I’ve always loved Rankin’s photographs is so lovely in real life, I’ve met a few photographers in my time who have been bigger divas than the models and it’s nice to say that Rankin really was such a nice bloke.

What do you think of my Essie x Rankin picture? 

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rankin, essie, nails, nail polish, nail varnish, essie gel couture, photo shoot rankin, essie, nails, nail polish, nail varnish, essie gel couture, photo shoot

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Friday Favourites: Summer Holiday Dreaming http://fashionistabarbieuk.com/2016/05/summer-holiday-dreaming/ http://fashionistabarbieuk.com/2016/05/summer-holiday-dreaming/#comments Fri, 20 May 2016 20:34:46 +0000 http://fashionistabarbieuk.com/?p=55666 I’m currently in the process of planning our big summer holiday, granted ours won’t be until October, in case you are wondering we are thinking of island hopping in Malaysia, but it got me thinking that I would probably need to stock up on holiday pieces now while they are in the shops, which of...

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I’m currently in the process of planning our big summer holiday, granted ours won’t be until October, in case you are wondering we are thinking of island hopping in Malaysia, but it got me thinking that I would probably need to stock up on holiday pieces now while they are in the shops, which of course led me to a huge shopping list, some of which are below as this week’s Friday Favourites. I’ve stuck with the essentials, everything you need really to enjoy a summer holiday by the beach – from the gorgeous straw bag that I can’t believe is under £40 to classic denim shorts, a giant, but fun hat, and espadrilles, as well as the cutest sun dress and swimsuit. Now if someone can hurry October along I would be most grateful!!!

Summer Holiday Essentials

summer holiday, friday favourites, shopping, summer essentials, holiday wardrobe, holiday, fashionista barbie Summer Essentials: 1. Kurt Geiger – Palma Flatform Sandals, £160 // 2. Mango – Straw Bag, £39.99 // 3. Mango – Straw Hat, £19.99 //  4. Asos – Stripe Shorts with Pom Pom Trim, £22 // 5. Missguided – Beach Bum Slogan Swimsuit Orange, £18 // 6. Topshop –  Striped Sundress, £28 // 7.  Topshop – MOTO Badge Mom Short, £36 // 8. Vero Moda – Printed Espadrille, £15 //

When it comes to summer holiday shopping I always seem to concentrate on adding key accessories, a versatile dress, a fun swimsuit, and plenty of casual shorts, for some reason I love to wear shorts on holiday, and I’m obsessed with these high-waisted beauties from Topshop with embroidered badges on, but with them being £36 they are a little pricey, the Asos pom pom trim ones are a little more purse friendly at £22 and will be perfect to wear to the beach. 

Top of my wishlist for my summer holiday is always anything straw, a straw bag and hat really does shout holiday vibes, and these both are from Mango. The bag is super cute, roomy, with a drawstring inner to keep the sand out, and I do love the cactus embroidered on the front, but it’s the hat that I’m buying first, Dear Summer, seriously how perfect and it’s less than £20. 

Team your straw bag and hat with this simply striped sundress, dress it up for the evening or throw it on over your swimsuit, plus doesn’t it just go so perfectly with those adorable Kurt Geiger flatforms. OK, these are a little more pricey than I normally add to these wish lists, but come on these are dreamy and I think you will be wearing these all summer. 

Last up on my shopping list has to be a swimsuit and I can’t help but be drawn to anything with a slogan, which seems to be everywhere, the one that I adored the most had to be this vibrant orange beauty from Missguided, at less than £20 it makes a great second swimsuit, and come on ‘Beach Bum’ is probably going to be quite accurate. 

What will you be packing for your summer holiday?

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Bag Stories: Harriet Sanders, Handbag Designer http://fashionistabarbieuk.com/2016/05/bag-stories-harriet-sanders-handbags/ http://fashionistabarbieuk.com/2016/05/bag-stories-harriet-sanders-handbags/#comments Thu, 19 May 2016 16:57:51 +0000 http://fashionistabarbieuk.com/?p=55645 There’s an art form to a good handbag, from the shape to the colour, to the fabric, and even the way it ages, and I’ve found in recent years that there are number of emerging British labels that are doing amazing things, such as Harriet Sanders, a graduate from the London College of Fashion who...

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There’s an art form to a good handbag, from the shape to the colour, to the fabric, and even the way it ages, and I’ve found in recent years that there are number of emerging British labels that are doing amazing things, such as Harriet Sanders, a graduate from the London College of Fashion who makes all her bags by hand from her Cheltenham studio. So, I’ve decided to start a new series, Bag Stories, where I showcase these amazing handbag labels, give you a taste of what inspires the designer, how and why they got into fashion, and why their bags are so special. There’s something about hearing a designers story that gives me a connection with the brand, and I’m so pleased that Harriet Sanders agree to be my first interviewee, especially as I adore her classic bags that have a modern, fun feel. I love that you can personalise the bags by choosing your own colour scheme, don’t get me wrong, I love monogramming my initials, but choosing the colours down to the lining, just makes the whole experience much more personal. 

Here’s how Harriet Sanders got into fashion and made her successful handbag line happen…

How did you get into fashion?

Harriet Sanders: When I was 14 years old my parents took me to a Gianni Versace exhibition at the V&A Museum. I had always been into making things and had been sewing from the age of 4. I was mesmerised by the exhibition and it made me realise that I could make a career out of making things. After that, me and my Mum researched into different avenues and my academic career was then focused on getting me to London College of Fashion. I went to Central Saint Martins Summer School when I was 16/17 and this helped me focus on what type of fashion I wanted to go into. I attended an Art Foundation course at University of Gloucestershire, which was one of the best experiences of my life.  

My first application for LCF was denied but my art Foundation tutor wouldn’t accept it, so called up and demanded to know why – turns out they had run of places by the time I had been interviewed – but they asked me to reapply to the same course but under a different name and structured differently. I was accepted straight away. I am forever grateful to my tutor for having so much faith in me!

My course was 2 years with an optional third. I chose not to do the third year as felt I had learnt everything I needed to know. I graduated at the start of the recession and couldn’t get a job anywhere. So I started making bags in my garden shed and sold them at Old Spitalfields Market. It escalated from there.

Why handbag design?

From a young age, I was always interested in embroidery. I loved embroidering pictures onto square bits of felt or fabric. As I got older, I wanted to show the pieces off so began making bags that featured embroidery. I was really into Pop Art, so would embroider pop art onto tote bags and use them as my school bag. I had tried making clothes and they always went wrong! But the bags always seemed to turn out OK.  

Then when I attended summer school at Saint Martins, the tutor said that accessories were a more successful avenue in fashion than clothing. You only have to look at the first 10 or so pages of Vogue and every advert is for a bag or accessory. Many large brands’ clothing ranges are subsidised by the sales of their accessories, so it made sense to me, not that I am in it for the money but it helps! And it was what I enjoyed making. My Degree is in Fashion Design Technology: Fashion Accessories, and I was specifically trained to make leather handbags.

Your bags have a classic feel to them but with a modern edge – how do you come up with new designs? 

I don’t work in the traditional sense that I was trained to work in at Uni. It has just never really fit with me and often causes more blocks than benefits. I can’t research and draw and develop designs on paper. My designs usually come from customer suggestions – they may ask for a tote bag or a small bag for dog walking. Whatever they suggest is missing from the collection, I then think about how I can fill that gap. I quite often look at other people’s handbags and see what everyone is carrying. I’ll take the bag apart in my head and rebuild it but better! 

As I make the bags myself, it is also very easy for me to respond to any trend that may suddenly appear. Although I try not to follow trends too closely as I want my bags to be investment pieces, that don’t break the bank, that the customer can use for years. With all my designs, simplicity is key. The design has to be aesthetically pleasing, practical, but easy to make. I am the only person making the bags and if they require long labour times then they won¹t be cost effective and that means the price increases for the customer. All the bags are stitched together with white stitching not just for detail but for ease and speed during manufacture.

Harriet Sanders, British handbag label, British Handbag designer, fashion designer, handbag, accessories, leather handbag, interview, bag stories, fashion, fashionista barbie, top UK fashion blogger Harriet Sanders, British handbag label, British Handbag designer, fashion designer, handbag, accessories, leather handbag, interview, bag stories, fashion, fashionista barbie, top UK fashion blogger

All your leather is ethically sourced – why is that important to you?

There is no denying that leather is one of the best materials available to us. It can be manipulated into some incredible products and it ages beautifully. But you cannot get away from the fact an animal has had to die. However, the world is never going to give up eating meat, so using leather as a by-product of meat is a way of ensuring the animal is never wasted.  

I love that your bags are all made in the UK and your use of recycled material – do you find that consumers are asking more about where their products are from?

I think when I first started the ethical/upcycled/recycled theme was really strong with consumers. I don’t find it is as prominent now but the Made in UK tag is definitely of significance to consumers. Too many products are imported from overseas, China mostly, and I think everyone has got fed up of looking the same. With my products, the bag is made specifically for you and the likelihood of you coming across someone with the exact same style, leather colour, and lining colour is quite small.

I love the ‘Design Your Own’ feature on your e-commerce – what made you give so many choices?

As a consumer, myself, I often find I love a style but the colour isn’t right or vice versa. I decided early on that my company would only offer a made-to-order service, as carrying large quantities of stock is financially challenging as well as difficult to store. Therefore, it became obvious that offering the customer more choice was not only appealing to them but also filled a gap in the market. We offer standard colourways on the website that I have put together and the customer can still choose the lining colour but I have now added a complete ‘design your own’ feature where the customer can choose the style of bag, the leather colour (body/straps/flap), and the lining colour (6 to choose from). It has proved really popular although some prefer the decision to already be made for them, so it’s really important I still get the standard colourways accurate. I can also offer a totally bespoke service where I can design a bag based on the customer¹s specifications but this is quoted individually and mostly done through email.

Harriet Sanders, British handbag label, British Handbag designer, fashion designer, handbag, accessories, leather handbag, interview, bag stories, fashion, fashionista barbie, top UK fashion bloggerHarriet-Sanders-Bag-7

The bucket bag is one of my favourite pieces from the collection – what inspired the design? 

The Duffel Bag was designed as a result of a meeting with Anthropologie. They had stocked a few exclusive styles of our bags in different colours and done really well with them. They called me in for a design meeting and said they really wanted a bucket bag. So, I went away and designed and made our Duffel Bag. Unfortunately, the bag cost too much for them, so they didn’t stock it but I added it to my collection and everyone loves it. It’s such an easy bag to use and wear. It can fit a lot inside but the external pocket means you can easily organise the bag to suit your lifestyle.

Do you have plans to expand the line to include other accessories or even apparel?

It has crossed my mind a few times but nothing has ever really taken my fancy. I am happy making bags and purses. I have recently made some canvas tote bags, so now looking into perhaps making some of my designs in canvas too – almost like a diffusion range.

What bag are you currently carrying? Also, what 5 things do you always carry with you?

I am currently using the Tassel Tote in Buttercup Snake Suede with purple lining. I absolutely love Yellow as a colour clash and purple is my favourite colour, so the bag always makes me smile. Inside I always carry my Alphabet Clutch with my initials on which contains makeup, tablets, etc.

The five things I always carry are my Coin Purse, keys with tassel keyring so I can find them easily, phone, with it’s cracked screen – I’m a member of that club, poo bags and doggy treats, I have a dog, the poo bags aren’t for me!

Harriet Sanders, British handbag label, British Handbag designer, fashion designer, handbag, accessories, leather handbag, interview, bag stories, fashion, fashionista barbie, top UK fashion bloggerHarriet Sanders, British handbag label, British Handbag designer, fashion designer, handbag, accessories, leather handbag, interview, bag stories, fashion, fashionista barbie, top UK fashion blogger

If you had to name just one Harriet Sanders bag that you would recommend – what would it be and why?

That’s a really difficult question to answer, as it really does depend on the person. I recently introduced the Maisie Cross Body Bag, named after my Nan, which is the perfect everyday bag. It has an adjustable cross body strap, so can suit all heights. Inside there are two large compartments and one central zipped pocket, so great for organising your bag. It’s a developed design from our ever popular Classic and Minnie Classic.

What sets your Harriet Sanders brand apart from other handbag labels?

When you shop with me you get a totally personal service. The customer speaks to the designer and the maker, so I know what I am talking about. All of the products are made by myself, sometimes my Mum comes in and helps me during really busy periods, and they are made specifically for the customer. 

My bags are individual, classic, luxurious, and bespoke. They are an affordable luxury with most of the styles priced below £100. I appreciate each and every customer, as they are ultimately helping me live my dream. Everything is made in the UK, Cheltenham to be exact, and made-to-order. There is no ‘off-the-shelf’ with us!

Do you have any advice for fashion graduates looking to get into handbag design?

Only do it if you are 100% committed. It’s a tough industry. Don’t take your tutor’s word as gospel. It’s only one opinion.

Instagram is such a fun platform – which profiles should we check out?

My Instagram is mostly focused on embroidery, dogs, and cake. I would definitely suggest following:

@georgie.woolridge.artist who I went to University of Gloucestershire with, she creates incredible drawings of animals and fills them with patterns. She has also released 3 colouring books, so you can colour her drawings in yourself. I have her Birds Colouring book and it’s my go to destresser!

@elodie.freeman is an embroiderer who uses a whole mix of techniques. I love her work because it’s so intricate and colourful. She inspires me so much with her work, I only wish my embroidery skills were as good as hers!

@stitch_kitsch or @makikoart do pet portraits in embroidery, which are so much fun! I’m trying to improve my skills so I can do one of my dog!

Also, don’t forget to follow Harriet Sanders @HarrietHandbags and me @FashionistaBarbie.

Keep an eye out next week for the full style post featuring my customised Harriet Sanders Duffel Bag, I’ll go through why I chose this style and the colours.

Have you discovered Harriet Sanders before? Let me know which pieces you love. 

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Swan Shakespeare’s Globe – A Midsummer Night’s Dream Afternoon Tea http://fashionistabarbieuk.com/2016/05/swan-shakespeares-globe-afternoon-tea/ http://fashionistabarbieuk.com/2016/05/swan-shakespeares-globe-afternoon-tea/#respond Wed, 18 May 2016 17:46:18 +0000 http://fashionistabarbieuk.com/?p=55611 What makes a great afternoon tea? The food, the tea selection, the location, the theme, or exquisite crockery? Well, the Swan Shakespeare’s Globe has all that and more with its newly themed A Midsummer Night’s Dream afternoon tea inspired by the scenes of the play and worthy of the fairy queen herself, who is perfectly...

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What makes a great afternoon tea? The food, the tea selection, the location, the theme, or exquisite crockery? Well, the Swan Shakespeare’s Globe has all that and more with its newly themed A Midsummer Night’s Dream afternoon tea inspired by the scenes of the play and worthy of the fairy queen herself, who is perfectly depicted in the special crockery illustrated by Annika Wester. Everything about this afternoon tea treat closely relates to the characters, food and drink presented in Shakespeare’s play, including the use of pea flower, the flower from which Oberon’s love potion is squeezed, and the menu even has a specially created Love Potion cocktail with Earl Grey infused gin that has a kick.

The first thing that hits you with this delicious afternoon tea is the location, the Swan Shakespeare’s Globe is literally next to the theatre, so a great spot for a drink or dinner before a show, plus it’s opposite St Paul’s Cathedral and down the river from Tate Modern, making it a perfect spot for a bite to eat if you are doing the tourist sights. So, we’ve checked off location and the theme is a given. I love that the chef had thought about the play with his menu choices, from the use of pea flower to adding apricots, which Titania feeds to Bottom when she is cast under the potion’s spell, and there are even mulberry scones, as the mulberry tree is where Pyramus and Thisbe agree to meet in the play within a play, and of course strawberries are featured with the strawberry and elderflower meringue to the incredible midsummer jam for topping the scones. 

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Onto the crockery. Well this gorgeous bespoke tea set designed by illustrator Annika Wester is divine, it literally has Shakespeare’s words written all over the plates, cups and even tea saucers, and the drawings of the characters are so beautiful and I love how she has incorporated in woodland life and nature. The only disappointing bit is that this tea set is just for the Swan Shakespeare’s Globe, you can buy it anywhere, here’s hoping that enough people ask and they decide to release it as it seriously is dreamy. 

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All that’s left is the food and tea selection, which FYI spoiler alert, was amazing. I do love an afternoon tea, I haven’t hidden that fact, but I’m particularly picky, there has to be the right mix of savoury and sweet to get high marks from me. I know I focus a lot on the cakes, but for me, a great afternoon tea is generally won on the sandwich selection, which I loved at the Swan Shakespeare’s Globe, the duck egg mayonnaise and asparagus was spot on. On to the scones, for me, the Mulberry one was nicer than the plain one, just me I like fruit added to scones, but for me, the highlight had to be the delicious clotted cream and midsummer jam, so sweet and refreshing perfect balance after the savoury sandwiches.

As always with afternoon teas in London, the selection of cakes and pastries on the top level was exquisite, my favourite being the chocolate and violet chouquettes, closely followed by the lemon and rose cake, oh and I was pretty partial to the hibiscus and apricot shot, all I can say is ease your way through this menu as it is all delicious and you are going to want to savour every last bite. But remember, if you can’t finish off all the goodies ask for them to box it up so you can enjoy at home. 

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Just remembered I totally forgot to gush over the special Love Potion cocktail. This obviously adds a little to the price but it is so worth it, I loved that the cocktail mix of Earl Grey infused gin, honey from the London Honey Co, blackberry puree and prosecco, topped with fresh blackberries is magically contained in a small glass bottle, served alongside a half glass of prosecco, so you can add it yourself. Be aware it is quite strong, especially if you also opt for the 90 minutes unlimited prosecco afternoon tea, which is a very reasonable £39.50 per person. 

This was the first time I had visited the Swan Shakespeare’s Globe, apparently it has had a little facelift, so I can’t tell you what it looked like before, but now it really is a great place to meet with friends, whether that’s just for a drink, if it’s sunny you can sit on the outside terrace, or for dinner, the restaurant is so beautiful and eating with views over the river and looking across to St Paul’s Cathedral isn’t too shabby. 

Have you been to the Swan Shakespeare’s Globe?

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Swan Shakespeare’s Globe, 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, SE1 9DT, visit swanlondon.co.uk (0207 928 9444) for more information. Prices: £24.50 – food only, £29.50 with a glass of prosecco, £32.50 with a glass of champagne, £33 with a love potion cocktail, £39.50 with 90 minutes of unlimited prosecco. 

**I was a guest of the Swan Shakespeare’s Globe, but as always, all opinions are my own, you guys know me by now, if I didn’t enjoy it, I wouldn’t gush about it.**

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Emu Australia Much More Than Sheepskin http://fashionistabarbieuk.com/2016/05/emu-australia-much-more-than-sheepskin/ http://fashionistabarbieuk.com/2016/05/emu-australia-much-more-than-sheepskin/#respond Mon, 16 May 2016 17:14:57 +0000 http://fashionistabarbieuk.com/?p=55582 When you think Emu Australia, do you think cosy sheepskin boots? Well, think again, this Australian brand is much more than that and their spring/summer collection is so nice, so much so I have a few pairs to share with you over the next few weeks, first up my favourites, these gorgeous Emu Australia Tweed heels. I...

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When you think Emu Australia, do you think cosy sheepskin boots? Well, think again, this Australian brand is much more than that and their spring/summer collection is so nice, so much so I have a few pairs to share with you over the next few weeks, first up my favourites, these gorgeous Emu Australia Tweed heels. I have a soft spot for classics, I do love a heel that’s not too high, that’s not too skinny, and these are perfect for wearing all day and dancing all night, plus as you would expect they have the best insole comfort. I’m seriously in love. 

I wore these at the weekend, during the day for a little shopping trip, and then in the evening for dinner with my husband, and I can totally vouch for their comfort, the sole is cushioned and I didn’t have any friction from the leather or suede straps. I can tell you now that these are going to become my favourite shoe this summer, not only for comfort but for their versatility, these beauties really do go with everything.

I love wearing these with dresses but they also look great teamed with jeans for a smart-casual look, especially at night when it’s a little chilly, I also think these will work well with my maxi dresses come the summer months as well. I have the black ones, but they also come in tan, and I’m thinking I’m going to need both!!!

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During the day I went for this great shirt dress from New Look, a bargain that I picked up from Asos, because you can never have too many black dresses and this one, with its texture fabric, is the perfect day dress, which can be easily dressed up for the evening, you just need to switch up the D-ring belt that comes with the dress for a brightly coloured skinny belt, and team with statement jewellery and a fun bag. Also, a fun bag shouldn’t be reserved for the evening, do you like my cute ‘Hollywoodland’ Charlotte Olympia tote, I picked this up a sample sale a few years ago, I do love it, especially as it has a mirror attached inside for makeup touch-ups.

How would you style this Emu Australia shoes?

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My Style: Emu Australia, Tweed shoes (c/o) // New Look, shirt dress via Asos **which is now in the sale – so snap it up** // Charlotte Olympia ‘Hollywoodland’ Tote // Sunglasses Shop, Retro London Sunglasses (c/o) // Shore Projects Watch (c/o) //emu australia, emu, shoes, summer shoes, new look, black dress, little black dress, lbd, asos, charlotte olympia, sunglasses shop, top UK blogger, fashion blogger, style blogger

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Jollie Socks ‘Wear A Pair, Share A Pair’ http://fashionistabarbieuk.com/2016/05/jollie-socks-wear-a-pair-share-a-pair/ http://fashionistabarbieuk.com/2016/05/jollie-socks-wear-a-pair-share-a-pair/#comments Thu, 12 May 2016 16:13:34 +0000 http://fashionistabarbieuk.com/?p=55563 I do love fashion with a heart, a brand that champions a charity, a cause or educates a new way of buying, I’m not talking about the one-off charity collaborations, granted they do good, for me it’s about those brands that put giving ahead of profit, one such brand is Jollie Socks, a more-than-profit enterprise...

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I do love fashion with a heart, a brand that champions a charity, a cause or educates a new way of buying, I’m not talking about the one-off charity collaborations, granted they do good, for me it’s about those brands that put giving ahead of profit, one such brand is Jollie Socks, a more-than-profit enterprise that designs incredibly fun socks, who doesn’t love vibrant stripes, while also supporting local homeless charities with its ‘wear a pair, share a pair’ ethos.

So, for every pair of socks bought, which FYI come in the most adorable colour-specific can packaging, Jollie Socks donates a fresh pair of socks to a local charity through its network of 30 homeless charities and projects in Britain, all of which have been chosen for championing long-term tailored support for homeless people focusing on their rehabilitation into independent and sustainable futures.

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What makes this sock company even more incredible is that it was set up by founder Ed Vickers, while he was still a final year student at the University of Exeter. Seriously what did you do in your final year at uni? I can tell you now I wasn’t setting up my own business.

A fresh pair of socks may seem like a small step towards tackling homelessness, but I love the fact that Jollie Socks and the people who support the brand and buying the socks are doing their bit to help support people who sleep rough. When you think about the clothes you have donated to charity, when did your bag include a pair of socks? It isn’t something we consider, and apparently sock donations are low and in great need, and a fresh pair of socks can really help fight against foot hygiene among homeless people.

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So, I’ve shared the Jollie Socks story, but are these brightly coloured socks any good? For me, who loves packaging I was sold straight off, the recyclable tin can is so cute, I love that each one is colour-specific to the socks inside, and I knew instantly I was going to re-use them – I’m thinking for my make-up brushes, pencils on my desk, and even loose change to save my pennies, the possibilities are endless!!!

Back to the socks. I do love colourful socks and these ones are bright, especially my favourites ‘The Joker’ with pink, blue and yellow stripes, which not only cheer up a rainy day, but they are oh, so comfortable and cosy, made from 80% cotton, 20% nylon for a super soft finish. Plus, to top it all off all the socks are made here in the UK and are ethically sourced and stitched, so you can be guaranteed that they are going to last. When you think fashion with a heart it’s hard not to be blown away by this brand, it’s kind of like the Toms of the sock world, and it’s good to see more brands coming through with charity at its heart. 

When it comes to design you have a few options, the ‘Originals’ are the stripy socks, then you have the slightly muted ‘Speckled’ and coming soon will be the ‘Twisters’ that have fun patterns on and made with eco-friendly dyes. I basically want them all. You can buy Jollie Socks direct from Jollie Goods online or there’s a selection also available at John Lewis, each pair costs £15. 

Have you discovered the Jollie Socks ‘Wear A Pair, Share A Pair’ story?

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Royal Albert 100 Years Of Tea Collection http://fashionistabarbieuk.com/2016/05/royal-albert-100-years-of-tea-collection/ http://fashionistabarbieuk.com/2016/05/royal-albert-100-years-of-tea-collection/#comments Wed, 11 May 2016 11:12:49 +0000 http://fashionistabarbieuk.com/?p=55545 One thing you might have realised about me, especially if you follow me on Instagram, is that I do love a pretty teacup, especially a Royal Albert teacup. I’m an avid collector, I just adore scouring vintage shops and car boots for pretty sets to add to my collection, I even spent months collecting enough personalised...

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Royal Albert, 100 years of Tea, #100yearsoftea, tea set, bone china, tea party, afternoon tea, biscuiteers, tea cup

One thing you might have realised about me, especially if you follow me on Instagram, is that I do love a pretty teacup, especially a Royal Albert teacup. I’m an avid collector, I just adore scouring vintage shops and car boots for pretty sets to add to my collection, I even spent months collecting enough personalised vintage tea cups for my wedding as part of my afternoon tea with the girls. I think my husband might say that I have enough, but I see tea cups like shoes and bags, you can never have too many, and I can’t wait for the day when I have a huge country kitchen so I display them all nicely, instead as it is some of my beauties are in storage.

My latest addition, thanks to Royal Albert, is this gorgeous tea set from their 100 Years of Tea collection, celebrating, you’ve guessed it 100 years of pretty tea sets, and they’ve re-issued a tea set for each decade, and my beauty is the 1990 Bouquet set inspired by classic English summer tea parties with its summery yellow and floral blooms, and it’s adorable. Apparently, yellow signifies joy, happiness, and optimism, and is often symbolises friendship, so it makes the perfect tea set colour. 

Actually, each set from the Royal Albert 100 Years collection are divine, each one distinctly different, and if you are just starting out your tea set collection these beauties will start you off nicely. I think I’ve fallen hard for the 1930 Mint Deco, which embraces the bold designs of that decade and kind of reminds me of Claridge’s tea set, the gorgeous vivid blue and floral design for the 1950 Festival set, and the Poppy design for the 1970’s is just so pretty and a perfect bone china tea pattern, not too bold, not too bright, with just the right amount of colour. Each of the 3-piece sets, which has a teacup, saucer and side plate, are £50. Aren’t they just perfect for presents. Plus the beauty of this collection is that you can mix-and-match the styles to fit your decor and personality. Personally, I’m trying to find a reason to buy them all!!!

Do you adore vintage tea sets? Which of the Royal Albert 100 Years of Tea collection is your favourite?

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