Posts in travel
Chanel Paris Rue de Cambon review - buying my new orange mini flap Chanel bag
Chanel rue de carbon paris

Hello my lovelies, it is me talking about handbags (again!) - one of my favourite subjects, after jewellery and shoes of course. And maybe food…haha.

So as you may know, last year I decided to put myself on a shopping ban.

This was for several reasons - one being that I have way too many things - I joke on Instagram about being a hoarder and maybe I really am! I look after all of my many many many things and so never really get rid of them because they’re sentimental to me, and still have plenty of life left in them. So this was one main reason for the shopping ban.

Another big reason is my growing awareness of the impact of fast fashion (something my fantastic friend and sustainable fashion designer / educator Jennifer Whitty first opened my eyes to):

  • of buying something on impulse that you don’t really need, and how wasteful it is then buying something else to replace it the following week / month / year.

  • of the impact this disposable culture is having on our environment.

  • there are many more reasons I’ve worked hard to not buy “fast fashion” and disposable items, and encouraged others to consider their buying behaviour too - but that would take up a whole blog entry in itself, so I’ll save it for another time.

You may be asking - what the heck has this got to do with buying a Chanel bag in Paris?! Good question :D

So last year, with my shopping ban, I began saving up all of the money I’d have spent on little, splurgy, unnecessary purchases to put towards one bigger purchase of something that to me, was more exciting, satisfying and important than those smaller, instantly-gratifying purchases. Something I’d use again and again for years to come, not just a handful of times and then put it in a cupboard or a charity shop. And so I began saving for a new Chanel handbag.

Once I had a goal, I began saving harder and started to see the money build up. As you may also know, I’ve been selling some of my clothes on depop and eBay - well this money also went into the Chanel pot and by December I was ready for my new baby!

The pink mini Chanel I had my eye on

The pink mini Chanel I had my eye on

I wanted to buy a coral or a baby pink mini Chanel bag, which were colours that Chanel released in its 2018 / 2019 collections. You can’t buy from Chanel online so I was going to have to travel to London to buy my new bag.

The thing with Chanel bags is that they don’t always have the styles, sizes and colours in stock - and so you could make your way to the store to find that the bag you wanted was not available. They don’t reserve the bags for you either (maybe they do if you’re a valued customer, but I’m certainly not one of those!).

Anyway before I could consider venturing to London to try and buy my new bag, the impromptu New Years Eve in Paris trip happened, and so where better to try and buy my bag!

So when I was in Paris I Googled where the boutiques were, which one was closest to my hotel, and it turned out that it was the famous Rue de Cambon flagship Chanel store - well that seemed like a good enough place to shop :-)

Online reviews of Chanel Rue de Cambon were mixed - some people reported snobby staff and lack of stock. Others raved about how helpful the sales assistants were. So I woke up at 6.30am to wash my hair especially - it’s not every day one buys a Chanel bag in Paris! Though the hairdryer in the hotel was one of those vacuum-looking ones that leaves your hair looking like a cloud of frizz, so I needn't have bothered. And with Chris in tow, I walked an hour through the beautiful streets of Paris to Rue de Cambon.

The Rue de Cambon building site - we thought this was the current Chanel store closed for refurbishment. It was HUGE.

The Rue de Cambon building site - we thought this was the current Chanel store closed for refurbishment. It was HUGE.

When we arrived at Rue de Cambon we were gobsmacked - there was a massive Chanel construction site, all boarded up, and it looked like the store was closed for refurbishment! *Sad face*!

I knew there were several other Chanel boutiques in Paris, so we decided to find a cafe, have a cup of tea, and then walk to the next nearest one. However, as we continued down Rue de Cambon, I saw a little sign, and a doorman outside of the actual Chanel store! It was still there! Luckily we hadn’t turned around and walked back the way we came, as we’d have missed it completely!

And so we entered Chanel. I was approached by three sales assistants who each were very polite, wished me good morning and showed me towards the bag department. It was about 11am by now and I’d read online that you should go early so that there’s more chance of your bag being available. I was told that there were three people in front of me, and would I mind waiting? Of course not. I’m here for the bags, baby :-)

While waiting I looked at the bags in the counter displays. Most bags are kept behind sliding wooden cupboard doors and I was thrilled to see that there were some pink mini Chanel flap bags hidden inside when the door was opened for another customer. YAY.

Soon it was my turn to be served and I was shown the mini flap bags available. They come in square and rectangular shapes and personally I prefer the square shape (which is also slightly cheaper than the rectangle) - although the sales assistant told me that the rectangular shape is more sought after.

The orange square, the coral rectangle, the pink square + my first Chanel bag, Yorkie :-)

The orange square, the coral rectangle, the pink square + my first Chanel bag, Yorkie :-)

Pink and orange peeping at me while I drank my tea

Pink and orange peeping at me while I drank my tea

They had the pink square (in quilted rather than chevron pattern), along with a coral rectangular shaped bag. I knew I wanted the pink one - yippeeeee.

But then I asked what other colours they had in stock and was shown the latest season’s ‘orange’ colour. It was a bright orange-red and extremely vibrant and attractive, but not what I’d gone in to buy.

However, the more I looked at it, the more I liked it. I felt it was more grown up than pink, and was certainly more striking. Hmm. Chris of course preferred the orange, but I didn’t want to rush my decision, having planned for six months to buy the pink!

We were offered a tea (me) and coffee (Chris) so I could take some time to consider my choice (no champagne was offered - and I’d been ready to accept this time, haha!!). While I sat drinking my green tea my two little bags were positioned in the cupboard waiting for me to decide which one was coming home with me.

And I surprised myself by choosing the orange! (You know how much I love pink!) So the orange bag was wrapped up in the exclusive white Rue de Cambon packaging and off we went together, new bag and I (oh, and Chris, too).

I now find I have to match my lipstick to my bag ;-)

I now find I have to match my lipstick to my bag ;-)

My experience of the Parisian store was very good. The sales assistant did escort me to the door with my bag, which was a bit awkward because I’d wanted to look around the store a bit more, and it was like a Mr Bean sketch, where I kept thinking she was handing me the bag, would go to accept it, and she held onto it - CRINGE :p

It was another week before I used my new bag and I’m happy with my grown up choice.

I’m still saving my non-spendings but there’s no Chanel planned for the foreseeable future, I’m happy enjoying the ones I have :-)

Sadie xx


PS. You can read about me buying my first Chanel bag in New York here.


Explore more Shh news

Travel diary - An impromptu New Years Eve in Montmartre, Paris!
Montmartre New Years eve Paris

Take it from me - 10pm 30th December is THE best time to book a last minute trip to Paris for NYE! Especially when you have to get up at 3am the next day to catch the flight :D

Sometimes you have to live spontaneously, and that’s what Chris and I did last NYE. We flew from Exeter to Paris with FlyBe and from booking our flights at 10pm, to arriving in Paris at 9am local time, it was a blur of panic and excitement! I didn’t even have time to wash my hair before the flight, but did have time to pack a bottle of champagne to take with me ;-D

We decided it would be too much of a rush to book somewhere for NYE celebrations, so researched online the less-busy spots to share the New Year excitement and settled upon walking up to Montmartre. In our minds, we’d have a walking-drinking-eating journey - leaving our hotel to amble up to Monrmartre, stopping for the odd cocktail / glass of fizz / Nutella and banana crepe en route.

Unfortunately, the journey wasn’t as exciting as I’d visualised, and we ended up walking through some rather intimidating Parisian streets, even having to cross the road from one man who kept stopping and turning around and looking at us. So we didn’t get our drinks / cocktails - but we did manage one “not too bad” crepe.

Veuve clicquot champagne New Years eve Paris

We arrived at the top of Montmartre to find hundreds of people already there, clambering (and falling) down the muddy banks with picnic blankets and bottles of champagne (damn, I’d already polished mine off while dry-shampooing my hair). Chris nipped off to find a loo while I precariously tottered down the sloping bank, Chanel bag in tow (please don’t fall, please don’t fall). I find a spot, where you definitely can’t see the Eiffel Tower, but you can see the Parisian skyline. Chris joins me and we share the whisky we’d brought with us in a hipflask. It’s extremely uncomfortable sitting on the slope, but I’m glad we’re there an hour early considering how many people are still arriving, despite my numb backside.

Soon enough the new year is upon us, signalled by a dozen or so cheers at 11.58 (my iPhone told me they were slightly premature). We eagerly await the fireworks erupting over the Parisian skyline before us. And wait. And wait…..

A firework’s set off from the muddy bank (rather dangerously, I thought), and that’s about as much as we get. We can’t see the Eiffel Tower. And there’s next to no fireworks over the city skyline. Huh?! Why did thousands of people come all the way up here for that?!

People begin to clamber down the hill and disappear back into the winding city streets. Chris and I are still sat there, still confused. We just can’t understand why people congregated in such an uncomfortable place, when there was absolutely nothing to see. Surely a park would have been flatter and more comfortable?

Anyway, it was an experience we won’t forget, and we too, clambered off to find ourselves our next crepe. It was a new year, after all.


Explore more Shh news

Buying my first Chanel handbag - an candid tale!
Chanel+classic+jumbo+bag+New+York+city

Hi peeps, here’s a not-so-little story about buying my first Chanel bag five years ago this week!

I’d dreamed of, and actually attempted, buying a Chanel bag for several years before I actually bought it. I love the style of the bags, the classic, timeless shape, the fact they don’t lose their value, and the fact that in my opinion, they make every outfit look better :D Anyway, as much as I dreamt of buying one, I had never spent that kind of money on anything before, and the thought of it made me feel sick!

After lots of consideration, I came up with a plan. Being naive at the time, I had read online that the bag I wanted cost £1000 (sooo much money for a bag!!), and I decided to save my “extra earnings” until I had enough for The Bag. Define extra earnings? Well I was living in New Zealand and working full-time at Massey University, and in my spare time making and selling Shh by Sadie jewels. It didn't take long before I had saved my £1000 for my “baby” which is how I referred to The Bag, and probably still do! :D

Attempt one to purchase The Bag

So, I had enough “extra earnings” for my bag! While back in the UK on a visit home, I took the bus from Wales to London to stay with my sister and buy THE Bag. Alllll the way to London I honestly felt sick about spending so much money on a bag. I kept thinking I could buy a lesser-expensive designer bag and have TWO! Or other things I could spend the money on - none of which I needed or wanted as much as THE Bag. My sister kindly rang around the Chanel boutiques in London to ask whether they had the bag in stock, doing so in a faux-posh-granny voice that had me in STITCHES on the bed beside her. “Do you know what, I’ve found myself in London with some spare time, and thought I’d pop along to your store and have a little rummage”. The store in Harrods said they had one in stock, but to hurry as they couldn’t guarantee it would be there much longer (they apparently sell like very expensive hot cakes!).

And so sister and I dash across to London to the Chanel boutique in Harrods. We wait patiently to be seen, and am in luck - the bag is still there! Jumbo, double flap, black caviar leather with gold hardware. Yes. I touch it and (still feeling sick) ask the price - £1800! Oh! I hadn’t anticipated that!! Stupid Sadie not doing proper research (at that time Chanel did not list prices on its website and so I’d read prices from bag forums, humpf.)

I literally nearly collapse and hand the bag back to the assistant. She shows me some of the seasonal bags, which are far closer to my budget, and which my sister and I do really like, but nope, I liked the classic Chanel because it is, well classic, and I can wear it forever :D

So I leave Harrods feeling sick but also slightly relieved, because I’d been so hesitant to part with my £1000 for “just a bag” anyway.

Attempt two to purchase The Bag

Fast forward six months or so, and I am still thinking about The Bag. I’ve saved more of my extra earnings, and have decided that maybe I will just get it because it is something I have dreamt of for so long. Even if I did buy a lesser-expensive (I couldn’t bring myself to write ‘cheaper’ because nothing about paying £1000+ for a bag to me is cheap!) Chanel bag, or another designer bag, I would still want The Bag. And truthfully, I worked very hard to earn my extra earnings and The Bag is like a symbol of all of that effort, and a reward to myself. I don’t smoke, buy magazines, don’t have my hair done often, eyelashes, facials, spray tans, false nails - things that people regularly spend money on, and so all of this was my argument to myself anyway :D

My then boyfriend, now husband, Chris and I visit Hong Kong 12 months after the first attempt (there was no Chanel stockist in NZ when we lived there - I’m not sure if there is now - and so I couldn't buy The Bag there). I’ll perhaps tell you about my trip to Kong Kong another time, but to sum it up, I couldn’t manage with the humidity and ended up wearing the loosest, baggiest clothes I had with me - my hair was scraped into a bun on my head, and there was no point in wearing makeup because it sweated off as soon as I left the air conditioned hotel. I had a sweat moustache for the whole three days. Just not a climate I managed well in!! Anyway, we are at the airport, me dressed like I don’t know what, (and there’s no way I want to try and find a photo of (if one exists!)), and I pluck up my courage to enter the Chanel store. I ask the assistant for the bag - get pointedly looked up and down, and told “no” they do not have The Bag.

To be fair, I looked such a mess I couldn’t blame them for looking me up and down, but it was still extremely rude, and I left bag-less.

Attempt number three

This is just a quick one! We visited Sydney, entered the store and checked out the price. It was £1000 MORE than buying the exact same bag in the UK. So we left.

Attempt number four

I’ll keep this one quick, too. Chris was in London for business, I managed to persuade him to ring the stores and ask if The Bag was in stock. Yes it was! On his way to the airport from London he managed to get his taxi driver to pull over on Oxford Street (or some busy main London street) while he left his suitcase in the taxi and ran into Chanel to ‘quickly’ buy The Bag. The Bag was there, he got it packed up, all ready to go - and his New Zealand bank card wouldn’t go through with the transaction (maybe it felt sick, too, haha). He said they tried it multiple times, and in the end he had to go because the taxi was waiting and he needed to get to the airport. I cried when he rang me and told me.

Finally buying The Bag

And so now it is December 2013. I am in New York with Chris on a holiday there half-way home from New Zealand to Wales for Christmas. The price of The Bag is now £2750 because the longer you leave it, the more the flipping price goes up - if only I’d bought it in London that first time!!

I’ve made the decision, and we go to the Chanel boutique on a wonderfully snowy day. We go in, and YES they have The Bag in stock! The sales assistant offers us a glass of champagne. I’m so nervous and sick about spending this money on this flipping bag that I decline, almost wanting to get the whole thing over as quickly as possible. I pay for The Bag on two bank cards - one NZ and one UK - because I don’t want Chris’ London bank card fiasco to happen to me!! And the cards work. The Bag is mine. We are going for a whole day walking in the snow in Central Park and so I ask if I can collect The Bag later. The assistant says of course.

Chanel+bag+review

Later I collect The Bag and it has its own little waterproof cover for its paper bag underneath. It is wrapped beautifully. I take it back to the hotel and open it. It is my new best friend (not joking, haha), and my dad suggests I call it Yorkie because I finally bought it in New York. (No fancy photos of ‘the opening’ of the bag, just ones snapped on my iPhone to send to my parents in Wales!)

I don’t use The Bag for another two days because I am frightened someone will steal it off me (LOL). The first outing it has is to an AMAZING Greek restaurant in NYC.

I’ve now had Yorkie for five years, and it is still my prized possession. It never sits on the floor, it stays neatly in its dust cover when it is not being used. It is what I grab when the fire alarm goes off and we have to stand outside our apartment in our PJs at 2am in the morning.

I don’t save Yorkie for special occasions, because I didn’t pay £2750 for a bag to sit in my wardrobe 90% of the year, though I obviously don’t use it every day.

So after that very long-winded tale, do I think Chanel bags are worth the price? Of course not. But I am glad I finally bought The Bag and love it too much to feel guilty about it :-)

Sadie xx


Just a note - I know Chanel bags, designer bags - things like these are not everyone’s cup of tea. This is my opinion and an honest account of how and why I bought my bag.


Explore more Shh news

Bicester Village Shopping Visit Review

I recently visited Bicester Village for the first time. I’d heard so much about it, it seemed everywhere I looked people were mentioning Bicester Village as THE place to shop and so I was very excited to get there myself.

Bicester Shopping Village

From Plymouth it’s a fair old drive - 4.5 hours each way with slight traffic delays. I was attending a wedding in Oxford in September and so it was the perfect opportunity to visit Bicester.

And I left empty handed!

For those of you who know me, that must be quite a surprise as I love shopping, and I love THINGS! All things! Everything! But I left Bicester that day empty handed for the following reasons:

  1. Bicester Village is a designer outlet, but these are still designer prices, so as I’m unfortunately not made of money, I carefully considered anything that caught my eye. And managed to peel myself away from them!

  2. I do love an occasional splurge item (I count my Chanel handbags amongst my prized possessions), but I try not to buy things for the sake of it, or because it is a good deal (I have done this SO many times in the past and am really working to refrain myself in these instances!).

  3. There were no Chanel or Tiffany shops there (these would have been my weak spots). Haha.

  4. If you follow my Instagram you’d know I’ve been trying to sort through my storage container FULL of clothes, shoes, bags, any other things that my awful magpie-hoarder-self has collected for the last 12 years. As a result of my hoarding-detox I’ve been really trying to use the things I already have and not buy more!

  5. In short, I’ve made a resolution with myself to be less wasteful and only invest in pieces that I genuinely love and/or need.

Pics below from my Instagram stories on the day

My favourite shops there were Furla (I was very tempted by a bag but refrained myself), Coccinelle (the softest most gorgeous handbags), Fendi, Kate Spade (which had VERY good discounts!), Molten Brown and the cosmetics outlet. I was also toying with the idea of buying the Tom Ford Soleil Blanc travel set, but again, I didn’t NEED it. (WELL DONE SADIE! haha)

margarita cocktail Bicester village


The village was really busy, but parking wasn’t too difficult and we managed to grab a seat for lunch as soon as we got there too (I also had a margarita!). My tip would be to skip the restaurant and opt for one of the many little eatery stalls instead - they’re much quicker and cheaper, so more time and money for shopping!

Bicester Village is definitely worth a visit, and had I seen something that I really absolutely loved or needed, I’d have bought it. On this occasion, that wasn’t so. I left the village feeling a mix of disappointment at not buying anything from the place i’d wanted to visit for so long, and pride in the fact I’d not bought anything just for the sake of it.

Have you been to Bicester or any other shopping outlets? What were your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below :-)


Sadie x


Explore more Shh news

Brighton Pier photoshoot collab with Colourbloc Photography
Shh by sadie Brighton pier funfair colourbloc photography

On my recent trip to Brighton I was thrilled to meet with Clare from Colourbloc Photography for a little impromptu photoshoot on Brighton Pier.

Clare is a talented commercial photographer who loves bright colour as much as I do, and so we had a lot of fun dashing around the funfair looking for inspiration!

My favourite ride was the carousel, and I did get a couple of odd glances whilst clambering up onto the ponies, bracelets raised high (all in the name of photography!).

Clare was so friendly we spent as much time chatting as we did frolicking around fairground rides. She's an experienced photographer who has an eye for colour, composition and carousel pony shots ;-)

You can check out our photos below, and see more of Clare's photography on her Colourbloc website and Instagram.

I enjoyed it so much that I want to do it all again!

Sadie xx


Explore more Shh news