Showing posts with label Liberty London Girl. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Liberty London Girl. Show all posts

Sunday, 12 August 2012

The Cambridge Satchel Company's sample sale

The only item from my daughter’s schooldays that’s stood the test of time is her beloved brown leather satchel. I bought it for her when she started school at the age of four - and she still uses it. It’s pretty bashed up these days, but the other week a young woman tapped her on the shoulder in M&S and said: “I love your satchel. Where did you get it from?”

Now an independent student on the verge of moving to Paris, my daughter’s been longing for a new satchel for ages. So when she discovered that the Cambridge Satchel Company was holding a sample sale in Cambridge this weekend we jumped in the car and hared east. Thank you to Liberty London Girl, by the way, for posting the details on Facebook.

The Cambridge Satchel Company was founded by accountant Julie Deane, who loves satchels as much as me and my daughter. “I had a satchel that stayed with me all the way through school,” says Julie, “and the more battered it got the more character it had.”

Looking to start her own business, Julie hit on the idea of selling traditional satchels in zingy colours. The rest is history. Fearne Cotton’s been spotted out and about with a fluorescent yellow satchel and Alexa Chung often sports a navy version. The UK-made satchels sell all over the world and have even appeared in Gossip Girl and Glee.

When we got to the Guildhall in Cambridge, the satchels (above) were selling like hot cakes. I spotted one girl queuing up to buy five, in hues of pale yellow, baby pink, bright green, black and orange. My daughter snapped up a gorgeous silver satchel and even though my student days are long gone I couldn’t resist getting one in navy. The sale (the satchels are selling for up to 60 per cent off) is on again today (August 12), so if you’re anywhere near Cambridge, don’t miss it.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Friday book review - I Heart London by Lindsey Kelk

I sometimes wonder if I’m too old to be reading Lindsey Kelk’s I Heart books. They’re all about a chaotic 20-something called Angela Clark who flees to New York after discovering her boyfriend in flagrante with his mistress at her best friend’s wedding.

But former children’s book editor Kelk has a hilarious turn of phrase and a writing style that whizzes along at top speed. I read her first book, I Heart New York, before I’d ever visited the city and her enthusiasm for the Big Apple made me want to jump on a transatlantic flight plane straight away. The irrepressible Angela is an endearing character too, a sort of junior Bridget Jones, only without Mark Darcy and the big knickers, who puts the drizzle, warm beer and bad memories of London behind her and starts an exciting new life.

Now the fifth in the series, I Heart London, is out (Kelk cleverly brings new readers up to speed with the story so you don’t need to have read the earlier ones to enjoy it). It opens in New York but quickly sees the newly-engaged Angela summoned back to the UK by her very bossy mum, who’s desperate to meet her rock musician fiancé.

Kelk herself lives in New York these days and clearly loves it, apart from missing sherbert fountains, London and drinking gin and elderflower cocktails with her pals. But she regularly flits between the US and the UK and in her new book she makes Angela’s return to London authentic and real. From her first sight of the Thames from the plane (“the opening titles of EastEnders”) to her excitement at being able to buy Percy Pigs sweets at M&S, she’s clearly writing from the heart.

Publishing house Harper recently signed up three more books from Kelk, so I’ll be interested to see what she comes up with next. But if you’re looking for a great summer read that’s light as the summer breeze (I know, what summer?), then try I Heart London

PS. For more information on I Heart London and some great ideas about places to visit in London take a look at the I Heart London website, from bars and clubs to clothes and accessories.  

I Heart London by Lindsey Kelk (Harper, £7.99)

Friday, 13 April 2012

Friday book review - The Bumper Book of London by Becky Jones & Clare Lewis

The biggest treat when I was little was a trip to London to stay with my mum’s great friend Sally. At the time Sally was editor of She magazine and lived in a top floor flat in Stafford Terrace, just off Kensington High Street.

In the evenings we listened to Daydream Believer by The Monkees (RIP Davy Jones) and learned a mad card game called Spit that we still play to this day.

But during the daytime Sally always had an action-packed itinerary planned. She encouraged me and my sister to run round the Round Pond in Kensington Gardens and race up the tube escalators at top speed (full of energy and pzazz, she didn’t believe in just standing there doing nothing). She took us to the Tower of London, Madame Tussauds and Kew Gardens, to cool shops like Biba and Mr Freedom and was furious if we ever said anything was boring. “It’s only boring if you make it boring,” she’d retort.

London is the most brilliant place for children, and if you’re looking for ideas about where to go, The Bumper Book of London is the perfect guide. Written by Becky Jones and Clare Lewis and subtitled “everything you need to know about London and more,” it’s stuffed full of history, folklore, funny street names, the modern skyline, London lingo, the best free and fun things to do, the best places to buy sweets, ice creams and toys, recipes, songs and much much more. I particularly liked the lists of children’s stories set in London – from Madeline in London by Ludwig Bemelmans to Mary Poppins by PL Travers and Beverly Naidoo’s The Other Side of Truth. 

For children (and adults) who love random facts, there are plenty to chew over. Thanks to the book, my favourite new discoveries are that all black cabs have a turning circle of only eight metres because of the narrow roundabout at the entrance to the Savoy Hotel, that the sphinxes at the base of Cleopatra’s Needle are positioned the wrong way round and that the London 2012 Velodrome has been nicknamed the Pringle – because it’s the same shape as the crisp.

The Bumper Book of London by Becky Jones and Clare Lewis (Frances Lincoln, £9.99)

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Empty nests and the lovely new Kate Spade shop

My lovely teenage daughter’s just started her second year at university so I should be used to her being away by now.

Except I’m not. In fact I’m missing her even more this year. Why? Because she’s moved off campus, rented her own flat in gritty east London with friends and doesn’t come home much. Last year she’d hop on the Oxford Tube bus home every few weeks, but now she’s got her own place she’s busy with academic stuff all week and working in a trendy Shoreditch bar all weekend. She’s learned to make cocktails like Mojitos and Caipirinhas (eeek!), says the bouncers are lovely and hoik tricky customers out in a flash and adores working in a place that plays her favourite music till dawn.

But yesterday we went to a screening of the forthcoming film We Need To Talk About Kevin (she thought it was incredible, I found it so disturbing I could hardly bear to watch) so we had a few precious hours together. We had supper at Carluccio’s, wandered round Covent Garden and popped into the new Kate Spade shop in Langley Court. The prices are on the eye-watering side but it’s one of the loveliest shops in London. The staff were delightful, the bags gorgeous and the entrance (above) so stunning I want to move in and use it as my study. They’re planning a bloggers’ event soon so I’m keeping my fingers firmly crossed that I’ll get an invite!

PS: I’ve been a fan of Liberty London Girl since she started blogging about her very glamorous sounding life in Manhattan five years ago. Now she’s back in London, I’m still gripped by her daily blogs, which range from the glitziest shows at London Fashion Week to helping her mother move house in the wilds of Northamptonshire. This week I turned on the radio on to hear her being interviewed by Lauren Laverne on BBC 6 Music. She highlighted the fact that whether she’s writing about fashion or food, travel or dog-walking, she blogs about “things that interest me day to day” – a great message for all of us bloggers. She also had a raft of advice on the art of blogging, which I’ve pinned up on my screen.

1. Follow your passion, be authentic and stay true to yourself.
2. The words are crucial but make sure your blog looks good too.
3. Don’t be swayed by free gifts or trips. Learn to say “no.”

PPS: “It’s Saturday. It’s five past nine. It’s Rise and Shine!” If you’re looking for a book for a nine to 13 year old who loves The X Factor they might like my children’s novel, The Rise and Shine Saturday Show. It’s now available to download on Kindle for £1.09 and is the tale of five young singers competing to win a star-spotting competition.
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