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!
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