24 December 2011

Product Review: The Handbag Hugger...

Even though we're well prepared for this Christmas, there are always some bits that need to be picked up closer to the day. For us it's some of the West-Indian elements of Christmas dinner by Mamma Vélo, and this year I was able to hop-out on the Pashley to pick them up for her. A ride to the Market to pick up the extra fruit and veg was planned, and this was a great opportunity to put the Handbag Hugger sent* to me by CycleChic to the test...

Although the Handbag Hugger is designed to be attached to the front of your bike without the Basket, I   needed all the storage space I could get, and have no issue reaching for my bag - so the Wicker went back on, alongside the Hugger...

They both sat on the front of my Pashley with no problems. The Hugger attaches to the handlebar stem with two screws and bolts - a simple method which takes only minutes to do and with no mechanical skills necessary! The position of the attachment didn't interfere with the leather straps of the Basket, so no issues there at all.
My bag of choice on the shopping-cycle was my Mulberry Messenger. Its one of my favourite handbags, so I'm quite precious over it. The Hugger held it in place securely: with its spring loaded grip function, it didn't slip out when riding, and wasn't dislodged when I went over any bumps in the road.

Getting into my bag while it was in the Hugger wasn't a problem either - although it provides a secure grip, I could still get stuff out of it with ease while I was on the move.

Overall, I'm very pleased with the Handbag Hugger: it's easy to attach to my bike, secure & from an accessorising point of view, the Chrome goes really well with the Pashley! The other thing that impressed me about the Hugger is that the grip didn't leave any marks or scratches on my bag - this was another of my concerns with it, but I'm glad to report nothing of the sort happened.

*The Handbag Hugger was kindly gifted to VCG for a review. 

21 December 2011

Minx it up & start again...

"the lady vélo session" photos courtesy of minx-girl.com

Surround me with gorgeous clothing and cycling, and you're guaranteed to make me happy - give me the opportunity to do this with a like minded person for a styling shoot, and the result is amazing amounts of fun!

I had exactly that experience with Debbie Burton of Minx-Girl. After bonding on twitter over a love of cycling and fashion, Debbie suggested we collaborate on a styling session with a twist: incorporating some of the high performance pieces available on Minx with elements of my everyday style. I loved the idea, and after a bit of diary-shuffling, we got together for the shoot...

With a case packed with some of my favourite wardrobe pieces and a lot of accessories, I travelled up to Warminster with a spring in my step. I was already jotting down ideas on the train journey in my beloved Moleskine for the next session we're going to do, as this one was just a taster of what's to come...

Meeting Debbie was fantastic: we gelled immediately and quicker than you could say "fashion!" we'd surrounded ourselves with piles of clothing, mixing and matching to create different looks:

From putting Twin Six with Tatty Devine, and Marc Jacobs with YMX, it was fabulous to see different styles going so well together & great showing it's possible to work high performance cycling wear into your usual wardrobe.

You can see the results of our collaboration with details of the pieces here... but keep an eye out for a bigger collaboration between us in the New Year!

8 December 2011

New Riding Boots...

I'd been in a bit of a quandary recently, hunting out new boots for the Winter. The requirements were simple enough: nothing tacky looking (not wanting to end-up looking like a bad impression of those "Pretty Woman" boots), a nice style that could be matched with almost everything in my wardrobe and of course not too much heel to walk or cycle in. My search finally came to an end when I spotted these on ASOS...

With their trademark elasticated sides, the Chelsea Boot is a practical piece of footwear, being easy to slip on and off and also stands the test of time as a stylish wardrobe staple. Now, the last time I owned a pair of  boots like these, I was in Secondary School: the wannabe Mod in me loved them back then, and the fact they're featuring in current winter trends now shows they are a timeless classic.

These ones ticked all the boxes: fantastic colour, as it's nice to veer away from the usual Black or Brown coloured boots, and they should do a good job on keeping my feet warm and dry while on the Pashley in this weather. I'm going to be putting them to the test tomorrow, as I'm meeting up with Horst Friedrichs for more work on his upcoming Cycle-Style book (big announcement on that to follow soon!) - will let you know how they roll on the bike! 

5 December 2011

A few of my favourite things...

Cherries on Cupcakes and Icing on Cookies
High-heels on Pedals and Skirts sat on Brooksies
Baskets with Flowers and Ding-Dong Bell rings
These are a few of my favourite things...

My love affair with cycling, fashion, coffee & cakes is more than apparent on my blog, but when someone decided to pick-up on this and create something beautiful from it, my heart skipped a million beats at once! 

I was rather excited when Alyssa Ramsey of Arcobaleno Jewellery Design contacted me about designing two bespoke pieces. The only clues were they would be related to the blog & my personality: I wasn't told what they were going to be, so my imagination was running wild thinking about them!

Once the pieces had been completed, Alyssa and I set a date and she chose what was the perfect venue for our meet-up... Sketch London! This was my first time there (I've been wanting to visit for so long) and we had a delightful Afternoon Tea...
The fact they have a Bicycle on their Parlour menu made me love it even more - thumbs up from VCG and I will return!

Delicious Cakes and various treats consumed, it was time for the big reveal of the pieces that Alyssa had made for me: a Charm Bracelet and a Coffee Bean-Heart Necklace: and they are amazing...
The pendant on the necklace is made entirely of real Coffee Beans, put together by hand. Alyssa used a very lightly scented lacquer on it, to allow the aroma of the Beans to still come through - I LOVE that it smells of Coffee, and the detailing of the hand painted Chinese Beads is beautiful... 
Her use of organic materials in jewellery making is brilliant - especially with fragile items such as Coffee Beans. Alyssa explained that organic items are something she is really excited about possibly using more often in her designs: 
"I'm constantly testing new techniques for preserving, finishing and varnishing day to day items to use in designs... I want to make loads of jewellery that looks good enough to eat!"
The Charm Bracelet is a stroke of genius...
Featuring Bicycles, Cupcakes, Coffee Beans (Porcelain ones on this piece), Cocktails, Heels and even a miniature version of my Cat-Eye Glasses, it captures the spirit of Vélo-City-Girl & really made me smile! Unique to my loves and with an eye for detail, it's pretty clear that Alyssa didn't miss a thing when it came to making this piece, as she points out:
"The best thing about Bespoke designs is that they are individual to the person they are made for - I would never replicate a bespoke design as it's been developed with someone specific in mind. I love it when I'm given artistic licence - to be told someone's three favourite things and left to create is amazing!"
I'm completely over the moon with these pieces - they're special, unique and have been made with a lot of care and love - just like the silver heart on the bracelet says.

You can view more pieces and request bespoke items by visiting the Arcobaleno Jewellery Design Website, or contacting Alyssa via twitter on @Arcobaleno_UK.


2 December 2011

Twirling in Tweed: The Rugby London Tweed Run...

Me, capturing the "Spirit" of the day...

What-ho Dames & Chaps! The Boy and I attended the Rugby London Tweed Run last Saturday - all of my last minute dashing around on Friday fell into place, so we were both more than ready for the day... phew! I'll give a quick run-down of my attire for the day - elements of which you'll see in more pictures:

Dress: Runaround Sue by Vivien of Holloway
Red Elastic Belt: Vivien of Holloway
Tweed Jacket: H&M
Pheasant Feather Brooch: Katherine Butler
Red-Seamed Stockings: Jonathan Astor
Heels: Aldo
Necklace: Dorothy Perkins
Hair Corsage: Made by me!
Rose Ring: H&M
Brown Leather Kelly Bag - Vintage
Pearl Earrings: TopShop
Nails: Thanks to O.P.I at Selfridges

(You may have noticed that the fabulous hat I bought for the day is not featured - I got my Twists re-done on the Wednesday & my hair was too big for the hat!) 

Once again, the Weather-Gods looked down on the event, as we were blessed with bright skies & crisp winter air for the day... if it had rained, I suspect there would have been a lot of damp Tweed cycling through London! Arriving at the meeting point, we were greeted with a sea of beautiful outfits and bicycles. Being in Covent Garden, there was even more of a tourist-attraction element to the day, with many people pulling out cameras and phones, snapping away. The Tweed-Runners make for a rather dashing display, so I'm sure the tourists must have enjoyed seeing us!

Ralph Lauren laid on breakfast for us all, which was a rather nice touch indeed. Men (who I'm sure were all models!) dressed in the Rugby RL colours were on hand to dish out savouries, cakes, teas & coffees to fuel us up for the ride. I must admit to being a bit too excited to eat my Muffin - there was so much going on around me, there was no room for an appetite to build up! 

After the official Tweed Run photo was taken on the steps of the Rugby Store, we had the chance to quickly catch-up with some familiar faces and meet other people taking part...
Tony and Victor, the stylish brothers  who I met last year, helping each other get ready

I loved her Brogues and bright Lipstick - sadly we didn't catch her name!

The 'Vintage News' team, looking spiffing while covering the event

The Dapper-Chaps of The Guvnors Assembly

Setting off, the route for the ride was great, taking in a few more of the tourist attractions of London. Making our way through Covent Garden, Trafalgar Square and past Buckingham Palace (where we certainly got a lot of tourist attention!), we arrived for our Tea Stop in Chelsea. The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea were the sponsors of the Stop this year - they provided a wonderful spread, including some tasty little Cupcakes, and of course a nice drop of tea in China cups...
It's not Lady V unless she's drinking Tea...

It was also another chance to stop and have a good catch-up with friends on the ride with us too... and get some photos of them looking glamorous...
The Lovely Loughton Brothers John and Jim, who Piped-Up for the day

Kathryn King of BikemindedRBKC, looking like a Matinee Idol! I loved her vintage Fur Stole

With Kathryn, the gorgeous Jemma of "Help! My Chain Came Off" and the Dapper Mark Ames of the "i b i k e l o n d o n" blog

During the Tea Stop, I had the pleasure of meeting Fleur de Guerre, who is absolutely stunning and simply oozes elegance and grace!
Strike a pose ladies...

The kind of accessorising that I love - when your Pashley Matches your Outfit!

Fleur looked beautiful in her Ralph Lauren velvet jacket, H&M Blouse, Tarantula Clothing Capris & those lovely red leather gloves and tights! I must admit to having the nicest Hat-Envy...!

We finished the Tweed Run at the exclusive Caledonian Club in Belgravia. It was the ultimate luxury end to the day - an opulent members-only club, with some very expensive Whisky, Teas and live entertainment which was fantastic!

The shin-dig at the Caledonian also gave me the chance to finally meet one of the founders of the Tweed Run, Ted Young-Ing...
Another spectacular suit from Mr Tweed Run himself

After attending the last ride in April and having a blast, it was fantastic to say hello and have a chat with one of the forces behind such a fabulous event.

You can view more photos from the day on my Flickr Stream - again, a massive thank you to The Boy for being my brilliant Photographer for the day and for my blog!

It was a brilliant day from start to finish, and already I can't wait for the next one in April... is it crazy that I've already started thinking about my outfit for the day?! Pip-Pip!

25 November 2011

Vélo-Run for the Tweed Run...

It's less than 24 hours to go until the Tweed Run & unlike my usual organised self, I found myself doing a last minute dash to get the final pieces for the day together!

With a busy week off work, today was the only one I had to sort out some rather important elements of the Tweed Run - including picking up our Registration Packs from Rugby Ralph Lauren! I had a few pleasant surprises when I got there: the 1st was bumping into the lovely Loughton brothers John & Jim, who had just collected their packs from the store!

I met them at the April Tweed Run, so it was lovely to see each other again. Once I'd sorted out the packs for me and The Boy in Rugby (the staff in there are wonderful btw, and possibly the most immaculately dressed in Covent Garden), had my 2nd Surprise - seeing Tony (a.k.a Mr Soul Dandy) who I'd also met last April!
Tony and his brother Victor caught my eye on the Tea Stop and I had to get a picture of them looking super-sharp...
I can't even begin to imagine how good they will be looking this time round... Tony told me a bit about their outfits... pictures of them on the day have to be done!

The rest of my outfit was the next thing on today's agenda which was all about finding a Tweed Blazer (I would have loved a RL one, but I'm a bit too skint for that right now!) and appropriate Seamed Tights and a vanity-fix which was getting my nails done to match my dress. 

Having not booked anywhere to get my nails done, I was expecting utter fail at trying to get seen anywhere on a Friday afternoon for a Manicure - but salvation came in the shape of the O.P.I Nail Bar in Selfridges, who could see me within half an hour of me turning up - result!
They did an immaculate job with my nails - classic round shaping and a deep Red was what I was after, and got exactly that. No doubt I'll be returning there again for another treatment!

The idea of running around Central London after getting my nails done to hunt down a Tweed Jacket? I won't lie, the thought of it filled me with utter dread - thankfully it wasn't a hard or expensive task, thanks to H&M having what I was looking for. The fact there was only one on the rail in my size must have been an omen...

The Seamed-Situation has also been sorted - but you can see those on the day :) 

So, that's it - all set for tomorrows ride. Sadly I can't fix the weather, so I'll just have to wish for sunshine and clear skies for us all... See you at Covent Garden old bean....Pip-Pip!

24 November 2011

Coffee | Cycle | Saturday: New Faces & New Places...

I've fallen in love with cycling early on crisp winter mornings... they are the perfect weather setting for the darker months: cool & fresh air in your lungs, bright skies and a sense of peace and quiet all around you. 
You get to take in a bit more of this crazy-busy city when it's quiet - like being able to stop and take shots like this of the ever changing London Skyline & not be disturbed! The slight chill in the air is also a great opportunity to layer-up... and who says you have to wear drab colours in the winter? Me and my chosen Cycle Wardrobe for the day certainly didn't agree with that - inject colours into a cold day!
Headscarf: Tie Rack
Knitted Cardigan: Topshop
V-Neck Jumper: M&S
"LadyVélo" Name Necklace - Tatty Devine
Handbag: Vintage Mulberry
Tweed Shorts: Zara
Tights: John Lewis
Brogues: Topshop

Me and The Boy were greeted with such conditions last weekend, as we headed out for a long overdue CoffeeCycleSaturday. Fellow caffeine fiend & friend Simon cycled in from Surbiton to meet us, and we were joined by a new member of CCS - the lovely Jo Halstead of Vélos and Vagabonds

With a new route to explore and a new Coffee and Cake stop to visit, we had a busy day of cycling ahead of us. Before meeting up in Prufrock Coffee, I needed to take an bit of an unusual detour - I had to stop in Soho to pick up a new phone...
After being contacted by Nokia a couple of weeks ago via the blog, I was invited to their London HQ to collect a Lumia 800 to use, review & keep... yes, that's right - VCG is getting a bit more tech-savvy! I ended up being filmed throughout the morning about my experience, so keep an eye out just in case I turn up on the Nokia website! Filming and phone-fun done, we met up with Simon and Jo, fuelled up on Prufrock goodness and then made our way out of the City.

Our new route for this CCC was along Hertford Union Canal - a pleasant stretch of waterway in Tower Hamlets. I put my hand up and admit that I'd never even walked along Union Canal before, so it was interesting to check it out via bike. We were not the only cyclists who had the same idea on a lovely Saturday though...
Fantastic as it was seeing other riders out and about along the stretch, it was also a maneuvering-mash up trying to cycle along it! I wouldn't rule out seeing it by bike again as it's beautiful, but an advance warning to any others reading this thinking about doing it: be prepared for a lot of human and two-wheeled traffic! Coming off the towpath, we arrived at Victoria Park - another place in London that I haven't explored before on the Pashley... and haven't been to since I was a child.

There was certainly plenty of space for us all to cycle together for this part of the day. The Park was beautiful - autumn leaves scattered around, more happy people on bikes & lots of cute dogs to be spotted (Jo is also a lover of Sausage Dogs, French Bulldogs and Pugs like me...) so that brought lots of smiles to our faces!
After a leisurely and enjoyable cycle around the green spaces, we'd built up a suitable thirst and an appetite - perfect timing to ride over to our Coffee & Cake Stop for the afternoon!

A new one for the CCS team and for VCG - allow me to introduce you to Zealand Road Coffee. Located near to Roman Road Market, this is one of the newest Coffee Houses in East London & already has a firm local following...
With a relaxed atmosphere, it's an ideal place for cyclists to stop of and refuel - good coffee, sandwiches and of course damned good cakes are important to me ...
... ZRC certainly gets the Lady Vélo & CoffeeCycleSaturday seal of approval!

It was a wonderful day of Cycling and absolutely delightful to meet Jo. Another CCS is being planned around another part of London. Lets hope the crisp weather remains this way :)  
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