Posts filed under travel

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.

Posted on December 14, 2018 and filed under bags, style, travel.

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


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Posted on September 12, 2018 and filed under travel.

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


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Posted on September 3, 2018 and filed under behind the scenes, style, travel, collections.

Port Eliot Festival 2018 - culture, cocktails and stately homes

port eliot

Last weekend I went to my first ever British festival at Port Eliot (I say British, because I did attend WOMAD for a day in New Zealand several years ago!).

Being relatively new to Plymouth I had never heard of the festival before, but now that I've experienced it I will definitely be going back! Set in the Port Eliot estate the festival sprawls across acres of grass, gardens, woodland and atmospherically ageing buildings.

As the festival itself describes it "Port Eliot is a festival unlike any other. Whether you’re swimming in the estuary, picnicking under a 300 year old tree, rocking out at the Park Stage, canoeing on the river, catching an intimate gig in the church, watching a cooking demo in the Big Kitchen or dancing ‘till the wee hours in the Boogie Round – our home is yours for the weekend".

One of my highlights was a cooking demonstration by Jasmine Hemsley, she spoke to us about her Ayurvedic lifestyle and made savoury puda pancakes for us to taste. Another highlight was the duo Hymn for Her - check out their foot-stomping country blues music, it'll get you moving!

See below for a taster of the weekend - as you can see, the weather decided to turn grey and rainy for the entire weekend, but it didn't dampen our spirits! ;-)

Sadie x

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Posted on August 2, 2018 and filed under travel.

Toucan embroidered headband by Anthropologie - Sadie's style

anthropologie toucan headband

On a belated-birthday weekend away in Bath I experienced my very first visit to an Anthropologie store. Having lived in New Zealand for so long, I think I missed the Anthro-buzz when it became popular in the UK. Now I'm HOOKED! 

I treated myself to a delightfully pink embroidered toucan headband by Namrata Joshipura. I am in LOVE with it and already want another one!

Sadie x

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Posted on July 25, 2018 and filed under style, travel.

Travel diary - take me back to Cascais, Portugal!

With weather getting colder and colder the closer we get to Christmas, I'm fondly reliving the week of gorgeous sunshine I experienced in Cascais!

My sister is a teacher in Portugal and has tried and tested many of the restaurants, cafes, bars and beaches, and so I was in expert hands!

This was my first trip to Portugal and I already can't wait to return. The buildings, the people, the food, the WEATHER - everything was amazing. I can't believe I haven't visited sooner. I'm a longtime vegetarian and Cascais was one of the most veggie friendly places I've visited outside of the UK. Yay!

See a selection of pix from my trip below - and if you have any questions write them in the comments and I'll try to help!

Sadie x


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Posted on November 12, 2017 and filed under travel, style.

Four of the best tropical perfumes

I love holidays (who doesn't!). And I love perfumes that remind me of times spent lounging with a coconut cocktail while I'm sat working at my desk.

I'm always keen to sniff a new scent, but it is rare that I buy one. I love subtle scents - I have a strong sense of smell and so find heavy perfumes nauseating. Who else has had the annoyance of squirting perfume all over themselves after an initial quick sniff, only for it to quickly become overbearing, and you spend the rest of the day feeling sick from it?! Well I have done this MORE THAN once at duty free before a long-haul flight. Learn from my lesson, my friends! Spray cautiously! ;-)

So after several years of sniffing, resisting the temptation to spray, and then re-sniffing, here are my top recommendations for a coconut / vanilla / tropical scented perfume...

Enjoy!
Love, Sadie x


1. Lavanila Vanilla Coconut

lavanila coconut

Hands down THE best smelling perfume I've ever worn. I've worn it almost every day for three years and am still in love with it. I get so many remarks of "you smell nice", even when it's not been freshly sprayed! I first bought it in Sephora Times Square at 1am. A sales assistant asked if he could help, and to my delight he found me my perfect perfume. I also tried the Lavanila Vanilla Summer fragrance which did the whole-i-feel-sick thing to me, after I'd purchased it of course.

It's a subtle scent of vanilla and coconut. It smells great sprayed on your hair! The bonus is that it is also a 'healthy fragrance' which has no chemicals.

Shop Lavanila here.  


Lush Vanillary

2. Lush Vanillary

See the trend here? Vanilla smells? Well there'll be more coconut smells too, as these are my scent-vibes! ;-p

Lush Vanillary is a STRONG scent! If you have a sensitive nose, spray sparingly. One or two squirts is plenty! It's a perfume that lingers, too. Unlike Lavanila, it's quite easy to find Lush products in the UK, and so I recommend having a sniff next time you see a Lush store.

Shop Vanillary here.


3. The Body Shop Coconut Eau de Toilette

The Body Shop coconut perfume

Cheap and cheerful, a simple coconut perfume that's good for every day wear. It's a nice, summer scent, and a good back up tropical perfume. And it's even easier to sniff in store than Lush!

Shop Coconut Eau de Toilette here.

 


4. Pure Fiji Starfruit Coconut Oil Rollerball

Pure fiji

I was lucky enough to holiday in the South Pacific seven times while I lived in New Zealand. During our holidays at Musket Cove, Malolo Lailai, in Fiji, we were given Pure Fiji toiletries in our bathrooms. They. Smell. Divine. I've since bought several of their heavenly scented products and whenever I use them they take me back to my holidays in Fiji.

One of my favourites is the Starfruit Coconut Oil Rollerball - it's a handy size to keep in my handbag and it smells amazing. I do find that the scent needs to be reapplied regularly, though.

Shop Pure Fiji here.
See my Fiji travel diary here.


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Posted on November 8, 2017 and filed under beauty, travel.

Current faves - Bimba Y Lola

I discovered Bimba Y Lola on a recent holiday to the Canary Islands and immediately fell in love with their graphic prints and colourful illustrations!

I had to buy one of their bright colourful scarves - the Black Flower Scarf. It has so many cute animals tucked in amongst the flowers I can't stop looking at it! Its size means that it layers well over a simple t-shirt or can be worn over a blazer as more of a shawl.

Here are more of my current faves from their latest summer 17 #thisismaasai collection. What do you think?

Sadie x


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Posted on June 7, 2017 and filed under travel, style.

Travel diary: take me back to Fiji! (Part two)

After a wonderful stint in at the Westin Denarau we took a boat out to Musket Cove Resort on Malolo lailai Island, Fiji. This was the third time I stayed at Musket and despite the weather being occasionally overcast, there was plenty of pool-time, snorkelling, delicious food and, most importantly, cocktails!

We were greeted on arrival with fresh coconuts, locally made clay bead leis and a chilled flannel, which was perfect for freshening up. The resort is beautiful and I'd highly recommend staying in the lagoon bures. It's fun watching the crabs and fish from your own balcony, and there was a stunning sunset every evening.

I took my giant pink flamingo with me (his name is Frank), and he saw plenty of action in the pool - kids young and old loved diving onto him and lazing in the water! Take me back!

Read part one here.


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Posted on June 30, 2016 and filed under style, travel.

Travel diary: take me back to Fiji! (Part one)

I'm a Welsh girl, and have lived in Wellington, New Zealand for the last seven years (time has flown!). One of the amazing perks of living so far away from home is the proximity to the tropical paradise that is the Pacific Islands!!

This Easter we returned to Fiji for our fourth time, and were as enamoured with the golden sands, blue seas, swaying palm trees and wonderful locals as ever.

For the first part of the trip we stayed at the Westin Denarau for four nights (we were meant to stay at Tokoriki Resort but it was unfortunately damaged due to a cyclone). The Westin was gorgeous and the rooms were fantastic - the pool, food, staff were all great. We didn't find it as relaxing as heading out onto the islands, but for a short mini-break when you didn't have time to travel to the islands, it would be perfect.

After our stint at the Westin we took a boat out to Musket Cove Resort - read part two here!


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Posted on June 19, 2016 and filed under style, travel.