Posts tagged leather

Village England are a handbag brand who specialise in leather bags that are designed to last, that are top quality and luxurious but fairly priced.

The handbag designs are practical and really work well, it is obvious they have been thought about with the wearer's needs in mind. I have a Hempstead (in blue) and the first thing that stuck me about it was how practical it is and how well it works - it fits everything i need and is so easy and comfortable to wear.

Village England was founded by Eddie & Julia who both had previous experience within the handbag industry, they spotted the gap between super high end leather handbags and what the high street had to offer and so launched Village England to fill it.

Here they tell us what we need to know, why they launched and what we should buy from them:

NAME OF BRAND: Village England

DATE IT WAS FOUNDED: First collection was Autumn Winter 2013

BY WHOM IT WAS FOUNDED: Eddie Knevett - ex Head of Accessories at House of Fraser, ex-buyer at Harrods, and Julia Dobson - ex UK boss of Celine, LVMH Group

WHY WAS IT CREATED: There was absolutely nothing English between Radley and Mulberry (and at that stage Radley was going down and Mulberry up - things have stabilised!) AND the mid-price market was totally dominated by American brands, who just do not have our love of leathers. Eddie and I knew how to create gorgeous bags, that look, feel and will wear like a luxury brand, but we wanted to deliver it at a price that was not completely insane.  I feel like many women felt they had to spend thousands to get quality because what they were buying for £400 wasn't wearing well. But it's not true, it just that so many bags at £400 are created to sell profitably at a discount. Not us.

WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR BRAND: We want to make women happy! We want to create the "best friend"  you have at the back of your wardrobe, which looks great and really works for your life.  Gorgeous leathers, linings that feel luxurious, lots of pockets.  We really think about how the bag will function, as much as the form.  As my mother said; "Good haircut, good shoes, good handbag and it doesn't matter what else you wear"

WHAT WE SHOULD BUY FROM YOU: Whatever makes your heart sing.  Buy less often, buy better, and look after them and you'll be handing down your bag to your daughters!

My personal favourites this season - The Haworth, Chelmorton in Leopard, and the Beamish - our best selling bag which we update every season.  Oh and the Wentworth which is a great "normal" purse for cash, coins and credit cards with a chunky pocket on the side which is perfect for your phone and house keys, making it the one "must grab" as you rush out the door (and the wristlet means its safely attached to you!).  For work it's the relaxed Hazelmere tote, and for dressing up the Thurlaston is gorgeous - the clutch we all need in the cupboard for events (and they all have detachable X-body straps so you can wear it as you want).


A black cross the body bag is a wardrobe staple - it will be one of the most useful bags you'll ever own. Here are 4 good ones that i have spotted recently that will last you a lifetime:

Bell & Fox £175 / Marni £240 (was £480) / & Other Stories £135 / The Cambridge Satchel Company £125


I've been looking for the perfect pair of real leather trousers for a while now and i've not found them easy to find.

I've never owned a pair of real leather trousers before but have a pair of fake leather ones which i love, i just love my real leather ones more! Saying that there are some really good fake leather trousers out there, that are a fraction of the price and that do exactly the same thing so if you are thinking its a look that you'd like to try but aren't ready/able/want to fork out loads of cash on some then you have options. Here are some fake versions that i've spotted:

My fake leather ones are the Vero Moda one listed above.

Vero Moda £35 / River Island £40 / TOPSHOP £18 / Zara £25.99

Real leather trousers are an investment which is another word for expensive so it's very important to get some you love. I went for leather leggings (which not very long ago i would have thought was the most ridiculous thing ever) but they are great as they mould to your shape, mine are from Baujken.

Here are some real ones:

Reiss £595 /  Tory Burch £342 (was £760) / Baukjen £349 / H&M £199.99


My favourite fashion website Man Repeller recently did a post on metallic print skirts - the ones they featured were mostly by Gucci and by super high end designers but there are a few high street versions around at the moment too (see below).

I got my skirt a while ago - I like to wear smart sparkly things during the day, dressed down with a casual top/ t-shirt and trainers.

The only (potential) trouble with these skirts is that they fit tightly around the waist - which if you don't have a tiny waist and a super flat tummy tend not to be very flattering.  However if you wear a longer top or jumper that covers your waist (instead of tucking a top in) the top of your tummy is covered and the problem is solved.

& Other Stories £55 / Lindex £49.99 / TOPSHOP £60 / M&S £49.50 / Raoul £184 (was £369) / Christopher Kane £195 (was £650) / J.W.Anderson £238 (was £795) / Zara £39.99


I LOVE Sarah Baily's bags - they are so beautifully made, the quality of the leather is amazing, they are colourful and will get better with age. I have recently got a tasseled cross the body bag that i LOVE (i have worn it every day since i got it) and the clutches are perfect for more smarter occasions - this hot pink and gold one is perfection!

Here is what Sarah - the babe behind the brand wants us to know about her business:




WHY WAS IT CREATED: Because i have a handbag addiction !! and now i can indulge myself in that addiction ! But I really love to make fun, luxury and practical bags from the best leather and materials that will last and get better with age, but at a decent price so women can treat themselves or buy them as gifts for friends, i also wanted to create a simple styles with bold colours and prints that would appeal to a wide range of women

WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR BRAND: The brand started off from me just using the offcuts of the metallic leather star cushions i make for the interior designer Abigail Ahern. I turned these off cuts into really basic zip purses and gave them to my friends and sisters as gifts, soon orders came in from friends of friends for these little zip purses and the brand evolved into what you see now I never thought it would go this far and now I have so many ideas and things i want to do with the brand I can't wait to show you! its going to be bigger , bolder and better as the brand evolves more and more , I'm excited to see how far I can take it!

WHAT WE SHOULD BUY FROM YOU: Anything with tassels!! i love how tassels move with you as you walk, dance or lunge!! Tassels are so sassy and fun but still cool and rock and roll, you can't go wrong with tassels- embrace the trend! Also do you have a travel card wallet yet?? these are my best seller and i love them , they are so bright and fun and they always add a bit of bling to my bus journey! I've just upgraded mine to the new gold and snake print one, its my new fave.


When i was pregnant with my first child i looked everywhere for a nappy bag that was 'me'. I love bags and was excited that i had an excuse to buy a new one.  At the time (2012) the market was dominated with expensive, plastic, stripped strapped, owl printed bulky bags that were so far from what i like and my style that i didn't end up getting one at all, instead i just used one i picked up at Primark - which obviously fell apart.  

However recently this has changed and there have been a few super cool brands emerging that have spotted this gap in the market and filled it with practical, stylish, good quality, useful bags that have been well thought out and designed and that will last way beyond the nappy years.   

Jem + Bea is one of these brands, their premier collection is impressive - super chic, classic, great quality bags that are built to last.  From the outside they look like a stylish handbag but on the inside they are filled with practical pockets, contain a (matching) changing mat, an insulated bottle pocket, adjustable straps and there is even a slot for your iPad!

Mine is called a Beatrice and i take it to work and when i'm out and about with the children.

Here is what Rebecca and Dominique, the brand's founders want you to know about them:

NAME OF BRAND/COMPANY: JEM + BEA named after two of our children Jemima and Beatrice

DATE IT WAS FOUNDED: November 2014

BY WHOM IT WAS FOUNDED: Dominique Hughes (Mum of three, handbag lover, background in law) and Rebecca da Silva Lima (mum of one, lover of all things leather, accessories designer for Burberry, Mulberry and Anya Hindmarch)

WHY WAS IT CREATED: We had this feeling that if there was a bag on the market with the same designer look and quality materials as the high end handbags we loved, but that had all the bits and bobs you need in a changing bag, that it would be a hit with other mums who felt there was a lack of options and loved bags as much as we do.

WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR BRAND: JEM + BEA create bags for style conscious mums who love bags and want to keep their style identity as well as being a mum. Our bags are centred around simple, modern shapes with a luxury edge. The high quality leather and materials we use mean the bags are built to last - baby years and beyond! Together with this, we've really thought through the interior of the bags so that everything works and is just where you need it. There are lots of well-thought out pockets for all your baby paraphernalia, but also handy things like key/dummy holders, as well as mobile phone and tablet pockets so they're designed with today's parents in mind.

WHAT WE SHOULD BUY FROM YOU: The Jemima in black sold out within a week of the launch. The Jemima is a cool zip top shoulder bag with a pocket for everything yet the style of a high end handbag - she's been featured in Vogue as 1 of 8 most stylish changing bags and called an 'it' bag by Gurgle, we're over the moon! Also, unique to the Jemima and in fact any changing bag currently on the market, is a great leather mini clutch for all your mummy essentials - so you basically get 2 bags for 1!

For a more streamlined bag the Beatrice is an easy yet chic ’throw it in and go’ tote - we love the orange, it gives a real punchy pop of colour and it's proving very popular.

The Marlow is our casual cool offering for AW15 in quilted ripstop nylon - with it’s sports lux and unisex feel, it’s been a hit with both mum’s and dad’s. Our debut collection is a purposely small, neatly edited range to ensure we could make each bag tick all the boxes and form the staple for seasons going forward - becoming JEM + BEA future classics.

We are now in full throws of SS16! - we plan to expand the range by rolling out 2 or 3 brand new designs and update our core range with an injection of colour and original prints - we can't wait to unveil it!


I am a big fan of bags - i love all different styles and shapes.  I usually have a few everyday bags on the go that tend to be cross body bags or shoulder bags - i look for ones that go with everything but are a bit different, are great quality so they last, are practical and i only invest in one if i love it.

I recently discovered a new leather bag brand called Bell & Fox - the bags are super good quality and the designs are classic but also modern. These would be good investment bags that would last a lifetime.  I love the round one and the fox one.  

Here is what Sarah the designer and founder of the brand says about them:


DATE IT WAS FOUNDED: first collection launched for AW15


WHY WAS IT CREATED: After completing a degree in Footwear & Accessories Design back in 1992, I have worked as a designer and buyer for a number of brands including Clarks, TopShop, Monsoon, Reiss and Radley to name just a few. Having gained over 24 years of experience, I had a ’now or never’ moment to start my own brand!

WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR BRAND: bell&fox is a new brand, a new collection of contemporary, luxurious leather handbags and accessories designed with a British spirit, for the woman with effortless style. Launched in AW15, I wanted to channel my years experience within premium accessories design to form my own brand. Inspired by my passion to create a modern collection of leather handbags and accessories, combining style with function to form a collection of accessible luxury, bell&fox was born. Clean lines and great quality combined with functionality are the definition of bell&fox. I love effortless style that works with our now more relaxed way of life and dress code, and have drawn on my British heritage and passion of vintage silhouettes and detailing to create a range of luxurious leather bags and accessories that can be worn on any occasion. As your hardest working accessory, quality and function are key – my bags are made in full grain leather with interior mobile phone and tablet pockets designed for a modern lifestyle.

WHAT WE SHOULD BUY FROM YOU: I love designs that are versatile, and work! My Wristlet Clutch works as a clutch both with or without the wristlet, then with the wristlet removed can be used as an iPad mini or kindle case and also as a pouch for make-up or all of those bits and pieces that I seem to need to carry around. My Fox Bag works as a cross body bag, and also as a wristlet clutch – mine has had many many outings over the last few months! My Canteen Bag is a good enough size to fit what you might meed for an average day. My Bucket Bag recently held my purse, keys, phone, snacks, water, tissues and a jumper for a day trip out with my niece and nephew – its like the tardis! And my Hobo has a slip pocket inside for an iPad for those days when I need to go to carry even more. Whilst I sometimes need my large purse to carry all of my cards and nonsense, my credit card purse if perfect for when I only need a few cards, notes and coins. Can you tell I love them all?!


Have you ever considered wearing a leather skirt? If you haven't you should because leather skirts are cool - they make a statement without being to over the top, they exude confidence and are very versatile.

I have recently purchased my second leather skirt - the first one i got from ebay, it was a TOPSHOP one that cost me £10. I decided that i'd buy a secondhand one to see if i liked it and because i couldn't afford to buy a new one at the time.  Anyway i loved it, wore it loads all year around, to work, to parties, to dinners and so i decided to invest in another new one and i love it. A good quality leather skirt in a classic shape is something that you'll have in your wardrobe forever, its an investment/staple.

TOPSHOP (same as mine) £130 / M&S £149 / LINDEX £149 / H&M £79.99/  ASOS CURVE £80


After dropping a lot of hints/bribes/threats i was lucky enough to get a black leather biker jacket for Mother's Day.  I have been after one for ages and did a lot of research to find the perfect one.

I do not buy fake leather bags or jackets (unless they are by Stella McCartney - which i never buy because i can't afford).  From experience i have learnt that they are things i regret buying and never wear, they don't last,  and for me end up being false economy.  Also i never buy jackets so they fit large - if you are between sizes always go smaller with a jacket, especially with a leather one.

Zara £150 / Topshop £220 / Karen Millen £350 / Whistles £350