Navigation Menu

featured Slider



Leather Bags with a Heart

I know you know I love leather bags.  I rarely buy cheapie pleather as they just don't make me happy. I honestly believe that the key to a great outfit is a great bag, and a fake leather one doesn't cut it for me.

Of course, buying real leather isn't always going to come cheap for either your pocket and the environment.  So I've sourced those brands that have a heart but produce beautiful quality leather bags too.

The first of these is working hard to do its bit - The Loyal Workshop.  Stunningly simply satchels, produced by a group of female artisans who have been shown the support of this brand.  Many of them are embroiled in a life of abuse, poverty and oppression and The Loyal Workshop are working with them, slowly and gently, to extricate them from it.  Read more about their incredible story here.

The Companion £130

There are many ways that you can join The Loyalty Workshop in supporting these women.  Buy a bag, become an advocate and more.  

Next up is MAHI. Not only are all their leather bags priced perfectly at between eighty and one hundred and twenty pounds but their manufacturing process will put a smile on more than just your face.

Every MAHI bag is created specifically for you by their craftsmen - no middle men, or extended supply chain and no repeat shipping.  You order, they make, and it comes to your door, simple.

Not only this, they also donate $1.50 from each bag sale to FRANK, a water charity based here in the UK which has helped over 300,000 people get access to clean water since it started in 2005. If you want to find out more about FRANK water, visit this link and see the amazing things they do.

Of course, this is all well and good, but if the bags aren't all that then I'm wasting my time telling you about them.  Well they are actually really lovely.

All of the bags have a beautiful vintage vibe and are created in soft natural leather with brass fittings. And this is where I got a little excited - you can personalise them with your initials.

If leather isn't for you (and I get it, it's not for everyone), then check out Matt and Nat who have a huge range of edgy bags that are made from vegan leather.  All of their designs are now made from 100% recycled plastic which is just incredible.  Such a commitment to sustainability should make us all take a step back from fast fashion and question where and how we spend our hard earned moola.

With a simple style and a great range of colours, I'm tempted to try one of Matt and Nat's bags and see if I can be tempted away from my love of leather. My favourite two are pictured below.

Abiko Azure £65

The Gloria £115

Have you come across any brands that warm your heart lately?

SaveSaveSaveSave - Dog Food to your Door

When push comes to shove, I'm pretty lazy, so anything that makes my life simpler is a winner in my books.

 When asked if I'd like to try out their new dog food for my pooches, I said "HA!" too late! I'm already onto it and have been feeding them Tails for a couple of months.

 I'm sure you've met my dogs on here before, but just in case you haven't, please meet Dixie, the three year old Australian Staghound - affectionately known around here as Dufus. She's a BIG dog, is Dixie, and a typical lurcher style creature - she's either sleeping or racing around at full speed, there is no inbetween.

Jessie is our lovely old girl and we think she may be an Irish Wolfhound cross. We're not entirely sure as, like Dixie, she's a rescue dog. She is 11 and we've had her for around 10 years now. She's slowing up and suffers with her joints, but there's no stopping her when she spots small furry creatures on our woodland walks!

Both dogs are different which means they both have different nutritional needs and this is where really excels. When you sign up on their website, it prompts you to create a profile for each of your dogs including their age, breed, any health issues, and even their favourite flavour.  The dry food is custom blended to suit your pup and you get a full nutritional breakdown when you've completed their profile.  All of the food is made in the UK and you can find a list of their ingredients here.

When your food arrives (free delivery, straight to you door!), it's labelled with their name and comes with a measuring jug so you give them exactly the right amount.

And you know that feeling on a Sunday night when all the shops have closed - yes, the one where you suddenly realise you forgot to buy the dog food?  It's not like forgetting to buy something for your dinner - the dogs can't make do with a bowl of crunchy nut cornflakes....  Well, you'll never have that feeling again, as do all the work for you and your deliveries are scheduled.  You can check when your next month's worth of food is due to arrive, make any changes that you might need to, then sit back, smug in the knowledge that's another thing you don't have to worry about.

I can't recommend highly enough - the dogs both love it, I love the convenience and the fact the dogs are enjoying a high quality product.  Here's me, feeling smug, just off to walk the doggies! Oh, and honestly, how can anyone go outside in this weather without a hat on? I struggle to find beanies that don't look ridiculous on my huge head, but I'm rather pleased with this one - definitely my winter essential.

If you want to try for yourself (or rather for your dog!), use the code VICKISB3 to get a free two week trial completely free!  It only costs a pound for delivery, you're not tied in at all and you can see if your dogs love as much as mine.


5 Things That Are Ruining Your Hair

things that ruin your hair

I have had my hair pretty much every colour under the sun.  Except green.  Never fancied that.  In my younger days, I'd dye it black (or that awesome shade of 1990's burgundy), crimp the life out of it and fancy myself the bastard child of Siouxsie Sioux.  I've made plenty of hair mistakes throughout my life and I know that I'm still making a few at the moment.

Coloured Contact Lenses - Have You Tried Them?

I have to admit, I've never really thought much about the colour of my eyes, they're just kind of "there".  My mum has got the deepest, darkest brown eyes, as has my son.  My daughter's are the the brightest of blue and mine are, kind of, just brown.  I suppose you might call them hazel, but they don't really have any green to them.  I'll settle on medium brown.

When offered me a trial of their 30 day Freshlook Colourblend coloured contact lenses, I figured I'd got nothing to lose.  I wear disposable daily contact lenses on a daily basis, so putting these slippery little suckers in my eyes is something I can do with my eyes closed (not literally, of course).

Contact lenses were a game changer for me when I first tried them over 20 years ago.  Of course, they've advanced a lot in those intervening years, but coloured contact lenses are a new thing for me.  I've seen them, of course, but probably associate them with being over the top and suitable for parties and one-off occasions.

Freshlook colourblends gemstone green

Freshlook colourblends gemstone green

Freshlook Colourblends, though, come in a wide range of really natural looking colours, and after spending far too long perusing the range, I settled on "gemstone green", a bright, cool shade of green and put my order in.

The lenses arrived in less than a week and were nice and securely packaged in a cardboard box (just the right size to fit in a letterbox which is fabulous as you don't have to then have to trek to the post office to pick up your parcel!

Freshlook colourblends gemstone green

The lenses themselves are packed in large fluid filled containers which is great for handling them - some contact lenses seem to come in really tiny packs which then makes it difficult to get them out without dropping them in the sink, something I've done frequently.

Freshlook colourblends gemstone green

I wore the lenses as soon as they arrived (I've never been very good at waiting!) and was pleasantly surprised at how very green they made my dark eyes.   You can still see some of the brown to the centre, around the pupil and that helps make the colour look much more natural.  The green of the lenses is shot through with different shades which also enhances the natural look.  One thing you will notice from the before and after photos below is that they make my irises look larger than they actually are!

Freshlook colourblends gemstone green

I wore the lenses for a couple of hours and they felt really comfortable.  The only thing is that they do tend to move a little in your eye so occasionally you get a little blurred vision where the coloured part moves over your pupil, but it only lasts a split second before they settle back down again.

Freshlook colourblends gemstone green

Freshlook colourblends gemstone green
 I've been wearing the lenses on and off now for around 2 weeks, keeping them in a contact lens case in a special solution.  They will last for 30 wears and I've perhaps worn mine a dozen times now, and they still feel as fresh as when I first opened them.

The Freshlook Colourblends cost £17 a pair.  I have to say that I'm a little tempted to get a pair in blue now.....

Have you ever tried coloured contact lenses?  If you could change your eye colour, what would you change it it?

*This post was co-ordinated in collaboration with

5 Things I Won't Be Doing When The Kids Return To School

I wrote this post a couple of years ago and each year I revisit it just to give myself a heads up of what I won't be doing.  It's a timely reminder to focus on the things that are important in raising our kids and the things that are not.

The 6 weeks holidays have flown by, as they usually do and this year things get changed up a gear as our eldest starts senior school.  This brings its own challenges in terms of getting everyone to school on time (the girls go to a primary school in the complete opposite direction).  Other families seem to manage so I'm sure it's not an insurmountable problem but something that's currently playing on my mind.  We don't live far enough away to get free school transport (we're like a hundred metres too close, annoyingly) and I'm not sure about bus routes yet.

Anyway, the following will all still apply whether the kids are at high school or not.

Not that I ever have, but Pinterest is making me feel like a bad mother that I'm not creating grape Olafs and Hello Kitty cucumber slices.  In what world do mums have time to do this in the mornings?  I'm hoping that English mums aren't into this trend and make my girls feel bad for not having star shaped strawberries in their lunch.

A screen grab of nightmare proportions!

In fact I'm not even sure whether they'll be taking a packed lunch.  Australian school lunches are very different from English, in that the schools have a canteen to buy hot food from, but not every day, and there's certainly no "dining hall" with knives and forks and jugs of water.

I've worked out that the cost of school lunches will be around £28 a week and I'm not sure I can justify that!

Surely this is what our kids need in their lunchbox?

Now some of my Aussie friends do actually create incredibly imaginative hairstyles for their daughters before school, but not me.  A plait, maybe even a fishtail is the most creative we manage before school.  Maybe it's because my girls have hair so similar to mine that it is impossible to brush in the morning let along manage anything other than a ponytail.

A ponytail?  Of course, darlings!

In Australia I had a large seven seater car which was at once the best and worse thing I ever did.  It stopped my children arguing over "elbow space" on the back seat but it also meant that we had plenty of space for bring home other people's kids.

I love having their friends over to play but when they want to have them over every night it gets a bit much.  Particularly when I feel like I have to have produced some home baked goods for their afternoon tea in case their mum quizzes them and they reveal they ate chicken nuggets and Frazzles for their snack.

Chocolate cake is healthy when it's homemade, right?

My car is now small.  The eldest is big enough to sit in the front seat which minimises the arguments in the back seat about who has the most space.  I'm hoping that this year (I think I hope this every year) they'll be mature enough not to whine and whinge about who's sitting where, who's opening the doors, who's turn it is to choose the radio station.....the list goes on.

This year I vow to not lose my temper with them and deal with the daily battles in a calm and controlled way.  I will facilitate this happening by ensuring I have made myself a large skinny latte before I leave the house.  Sorted.

It sounds great, doesn't it, unloading your wallet to someone who will entertain and enrich your child for an hour but what it actually boils down to is this:
  • drop child off at after school activity after ensuring you packed all necessary accoutrements before picking them up (don't imagine for a minute that they will do this for themselves)
  • find a park where the other two can play for an hour
  • after ten minutes, the other two are bored and fighting and asking for more snacks than I brought with me
  • I drive to Costa Coffee and we spend an inordinate amount of money on milkshakes, or we walk end up in WH Smiths spending money on stationery that we don't need.

This year they'll do one activity each.  That's it.  That's plenty, hey?  When I was little I did ballroom dancing (I KNOW!) on a Saturday morning and that was all, and I haven't turned into a pot-smoking waster or an axe murderer.

What won't you be doing when your kids are back at school?

Metallic Brogues - My Current Lust List

I haven't been shopping for absolutely ages.  Having recently moved house (and country), there have been other more pressing things on my mind than new shoes (I know, right, who even am I?).

I seem to have let the trend of brogues pass me by last winter, which is a shame because I love a bit of androgynous dressing.  So I figured as Autumn is nearly here, a great metallic brogue could be just the thing my wardrobe is crying out for.

They would look amazing with cropped jeans, culottes, midi skirts...the list goes on.  Of course, the debate is whether to go for gold or silver (or even bronze, or copper), but I figure I'll make up my mind when I find the perfect shape brogue.

I'm looking for something that ideally has a bit of a flatform going on as opposed to being actually flat like a "real brogue".  I'd like a bit of detail but not too much in case they veer into clown shoe territory.

Here are the ones that I found that hit my sweet spot.

The first pair are from ASOS (£40) and although they don't have any traditional brogue-like detailing, I do rather love the the silver flatforms, though I fear they may get horribly trashed if I wore them outside of the house.  How cool are the silver laces, too?

silver gold metallic brogues

These next ones from Zara (£29.99) are a bit of a bargain and have a bit more detail going on.  Loving the structured sole and these are probably a bit more practical than the Zara ones too.  The stitching around the toe is a nice detail, too.

gold silver metallic brogues

These Kurt Geiger Knox ones have more of a sneaker feel to them, so would I'm guessing would be really comfortable to wear all day. More brogue detailing makes them appealing but the price doesn't...(£110).  They are leather though, so there's less chance of them stinking after a couple of weeks (please don't tell me that's just me).

gold silver metallic brogues

These high shine gold brogues from River Island (£45) have a bit of an espadrille detail around the sole which I love but it's making me think "summer" rather than "autumn".

Gold Silver Metallic Brogue

The next couple of pairs aren't exactly what I'm looking for, but I'm sure they'll hit the spot for someone.  The first black and pewter pair are scored from Office and are reduced to £28 which is a great price for leather.  They're too formal for me and a little too masculine, though.
Gold Silver Metallic Brogue
 I do rather like these ones with their traditional tan leather and flash of gold to the yoke.  They're from Office and reduced to £52, almost half price.

Gold Silver Metallic Brogue

 These three pairs are all from Dune and sit firmly in the sneaker camp, much more so than the Kurt Geiger Knox ones above.  The first pair are a little too "straight down the fairway" for my tastes - Dune Eddy £110.
Gold Silver Metallic Brogue

The Dune Etsy sneaker/shoe comes in a range of colours including this divine copper (though hard to wear with lots of colours) and the easier on the eye pewter.  

Gold Silver Metallic Brogue

Gold Silver Metallic Brogue

The last four pairs I've got to show you are more nude than metallic, particularly the last pair, but in all honestly I think they might be a really great shoe for pretty much any outfit.  First up is this cheap as chips pair from La Redoute £65 which features a flash of baby blue - great if you're still loving your pastels.

Gold Silver Metallic Brogue

Topshop have nailed it with these leather offerings for just £35.  They're not quite as chunky as I want, but I adore the colour.

Gold Silver Metallic Brogue

Final pair from Dune are just delicious.  Perfect amount of detail, gorgeous shade of blush and I love the cleated sole. And best of all they're leather and reduced to £60.  Sold!

What are you planning to wear on your feet this Autumn?  I'll be talking about ankle boots soon if brogues aren't your thing.


How to be Awesome at Online Shopping

Online shopping hits a lot of sweet spots for me.  Unless shopping actually is your cardio, then doing it all online has so many benefits.

Freedom Eyebrow Pomade Review

Anyone that knows me (in real life or from the blog as I talk about the subject a lot), will know that I hate my eyebrows.  They're properly rubbish.  I can't actually remember a time when I liked my eyebrows, they've always been my Achille's heel, except on my face and not in my shoes.

Welcome to The Shropshire Stylist

I'm sure that 99% of the people reading this blog are thinking, what the heck is going on?  Where did The Fashionable Mum go??  Well, it's still me, but now that we're back in the UK (5 weeks in, loving it!) it seemed the right time for a new start.

Follow @theshropshirestylist