“ Brand: Clarks „
I'd owned my previous handbag since I was about 13 years old...don't worry, it wasn't bright or garish or related to any children's TV shows! It was just plain black and quite classically designed, but eventually it started to show its signs of wear and tear, and often left me wanting more space. So, it went to the great big handbag shop in the sky, and I set about finding a replacement.
My requirements were clear (although perhaps a little fussy!). My previous bag was black, and although it was practical, in summer or with light coloured outfits it stuck out like a sore thumb, so I wanted a bag in a nice, neutral, light colour that could go with anything. I wanted a bag with a zip closing, and no flaps. Lastly, it had to be big enough to fit a book in it: bigger than my previous bag, at least, which struggled when I wanted to pop a second umbrella in it!
So, when I stumbled upon this Maiden Bowl Handbag completely by chance in my local Clark's store, it seemed to tick all the boxes! It's a very neutral colour, like a creamy caramel colour with a hint of grey in it. So far, this has been perfect as it's gone with every outfit I've worn, even white. If I remember correctly, it was also available in black.
The fastening is really clever - it's a zip fastening and isn't covered by a flap, but it's a zip with two zipper pulls. You know, like a suitcase where you have two zipper pulls and you can fasten them at any point around the suitcase? This is exactly the same, where you have one pull at each end of the zipper and the opening can be as big or as small as you want it to be. What I find particularly handy about this is that whether you wear your bag on your left or right arm, you can have the bag closed with both zipper pulls by your front, so no sneaky pickpockets can dip their hand into an opening at the back of the bag behind you, where you can't see. This is quite tricky to describe, but trust me that it's a really good feature!
I've measured my bag, and it's 37cm long, 25cm high, and 13cm deep. This means that it's a perfect size for me, as I can fit a book in it! I've found that any average sized paperback can easily fit, even ones with 400+ pages. Perfect! On one occasion, I managed to fit my chunky paperback, two of those boxed wraps from Tesco, an umbrella, some A4 pages, my purse and my mobile, as well as all the usual handbag junk in comfortably, and there was still some room to spare. It's like a Mary Poppins bag: from the outside it just looks an average size, but it can fit loads inside! That said, when I've just got a couple of bits and bobs in there they don't get lost swimming around at the bottom - I think it is just the perfect size!
I know some girls love pockets and pouches in their handbags, and although this bag only has a few, they're very practical. There is one small exterior pocket on each end, which I don't use, but they're good as they don't stick out as being pockets but just blend in with the rest of the design. On the inside, against the back of the bag there is a zipped pouch, a bit bigger than the size of a cheque. On the opposite side, there are two more pouches (not zipped) - one is a really good size, and the other is meant to hold a mobile phone. I own an HTC Wildfire, and it only just fits in the mobile phone pouch, so if you have any bigger models you may struggle to fit your phone in this pouch. I normally just keep my phone in the other, bigger pouch, or just in the main part of the bag.
If you are interested in the same, light coloured bag that I have, you may be worried about it getting grubby or the dirt showing up. Well, I've had mine for quite a while and it hasn't got any marks or scuffs, which is really impressive. It's not real leather, but it's a good imitation, so it should be easy to wipe clean with a damp cloth if you have any spills. I can't find any information on what type of fabric the lining is, but it shouldn't really be a problem if it gets dirty as no one will see it! Oh, and the lining has a really pretty design printed on it!
All in all, this is a fabulous bag which was a great purchase as it's perfect for me. It is a great, practical size and goes with any outfit, smart or casual, summer or winter. I'm sure that it will last me for many years to come, and its classic style means it will (hopefully!) never go out of fashion!
I purchased mine for £17.49, although it was on offer at half price at the time, so the normal price is £35. It's definitely worth the money I paid for it, and even at the higher price I think it would be good value for money.