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The solution to your gardening problems?
This apron was a gift from a friend and it's a lovely accessory which I really should use more than I do. The problem with me is that I pop out into the garden "just to do this or that" and end up staying a couple of hours. So in my mind, I don't think to get the apron on and set myself up properly for the few hours ahead, I just grab the tool of choice and off I go. By the end of the afternoon I will have made several return trups to the garage and brought out other odds and bobs, and invariably left them around the garden, to be collected up in dribs and drabs over the next few days when spotted...Even then there is always the mystery of where did you leave those secateurs...? So in theory, then, this Laura Ashley Apron should be the answer!
The apron measures roughly 350x300mm and is made from leather which is pale green with a suede-like soft touch finish and a pretty coloured flowery panel along the length of the front. Not being au-fait with Laura Ashley, I was unaware until now that this is a recognised pattern, called "Cressida". It has two long tapes (of the same suede-like material) attached, through metal rings (it's all very well-made) which you use to tie around your back. The leather material of the apron makes it quite a sturdy item which is not very flexible when around your waist.
The length of the front of the apron is split into two pockets (one is just over 200mm wide, one 100mm wide, each 150mm deep) and on the front is a mobile phone pouch which has a tab which goes over the top to hold the phone in place, with a small velcro fastening. Additionally there is a loop of the leather with a press-stud fastening towards the top which is a key holder.
The first of the two main pockets is fairly generously sized, and both are reasonably deep, so they easily fit the secateurs in for instance, and you can pop trowels and hand forks in there for carrying from A to B, but they don't really fit fully inside the pockets with their handles to make them comfortable to keep them there as they would stick out of the pockets and either dig into you or be in danger of falling out.
My usage (or lack of!)
On the occasions I've used the apron, the mobile phone holder is definitely a good feature. It would fit most mobile/smart phones quite comfortably, and the tab which goes over the top reassures you that it won't take a tumble.
Other than that I have not really found it to be of practical use. I find it quite uncomfortable and cumbersome, being made of leather which isn't particularly soft. When you kneel down it just kind of pops up or sticks out, it doesn't flex with you so it feels like it's in the way. Maybe, if used regularly the leather would soften so this could possibly be a bit of a catch-22.
My honest assessment of this apron is that it's extraordinarily pretty but not very practical. The pockets (particularly the smaller one) are more suited to small items - pens, plant markers, plant ties, twine etc - these are things that I only tend to need occasionally rather than needing to keep on my person. As I mentioned earlier, however, the secateurs do keep nicely in there and that's been my only practical use I can remember. If you are in the habit of taking gloves on and off, they too would fit in there, but personally my gloves stay on for all tasks in the garden.
As you can probably detect, I haven't had a great deal of use out of this apron, which is a pity as it's a really practical and logical idea. To be more useful I think the pocket would need to be one large pocket and the material more flexible and lighter to wear.
Retailing at £16 at the moment on Amazon, I think it's certainly worth that in terms of the quality of the brand, the manufacture and the materials, but in terms of practicality, I would sum up by saying I'm glad to have received this as a gift, for its occasional use, and it adds a touch of glamour to my garage where it hangs on the wall (!!) but I wouldn't spend that amount on this product myself.