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I love the beautiful Orla Kiely leaf patterned accessories available from her range. The pattern I think has become quite iconic over the last couple of years and one that seems to be everywhere at the moment! It's a very 70's design of leaves in multicolours and in big prints. Orla Kiely is the designer's name and she has a large number of items with the same pretty design - everything from cushions and curtains to umbrellas and storages boxes. I find I am almost guaranteed to come across something in the range while on a shopping trip!
My parents bought me this beautiful umbrella for Christmas as they know how much I love the pattern (and coincidentally it's a bit of a joke between us because it's not their favourite) and I think that probably describes the pattern perfectly, it has the 'marmite' effect and you'll either love or hate it. It is actually a Fulton umbrella with Orla's design across it.
The umbrella comes in a lovely presentation box in the same design which I now use not to house the umbrella but to store other small items such as nail varnishes. The box is a lovely extra and makes it perfect to give as a present. The umbrella itself is then within it. The umbrella is very compact and only measures around 16cm in height, 5cm in width when folded. It fits brilliantly in my bag and doesn't take up much room at all. It also takes a spot in my car sometimes and tucks nicely under the seat. There's a material loop at the bottom of the handle so it can be tied to a bag.
The umbrella is also very lightweight so it's not a pain to carry around in your hand. It has a velcro fastening tie around it that fixes in place when not in use. It also comes with a cover to slide over it when folded but I find (as I do with all umbrellas) that I never use this because it's a bit too much hassle once I've started to use it. Then, when it rains (as always!), popping it up to use couldn't be simpler. It slides up the metal pole and clicks into place with ease. I hate those metal clips that push in to collapse the umbrella (I always seem to catch my poor fingers in it and it hurts!) but this umbrella has a small plastic button to press in to fold it back down - much more finger friendly! It also comes with a wooden handle.
As the umbrella is so small and lightweight I never tend to use it during windy periods, just because I've had posh umbrellas in the past that have blown inside straight away and broken after a couple of uses! Don't want to risk the same with this one so I couldn't tell you about it's suitability - it is supposed to have been designed to be flexible to give maximum wind protection but I personally wouldn't recommend putting it up in wind. As for in rain though (it's main purpose!) I find that it gives a good wide coverage and easily shelters me and my bags when I'm out shopping. When unfolded, it's 87cm wide. It's been used regularly since Christmas and is still my favourite umbrella to use.
The spokes on the umbrella have lasted well - I sometimes find that the spokes pop out or break some continual use from putting up and down but these so far (*touching wood*) seem to have lasted very well. They are made of rustproof aluminium - this claim has been true so far because I've never noticed any sort of wear of this nature.
Now for the one downside - the price. This umbrella was bought from John Lewis at Christmas but unfortunately they don't sell it anymore on the website - although at other stockists such as Amazon, it's price is a whopping £34! I think the normal price was around £30 at John Lewis as they stock similar ones but in different shades at the moment at that price. That to me is extremely expensive for an everyday umbrella, although I suppose it is Fulton branded. I wouldn't really consider using it anywhere more fancy, just because the pattern is very bold and bright.
Because of the price, I have to remove one star so overall I would rate the Orla Kiely umbrella 4 stars in total. I love it's style and it's very functional - very handy in this rubbish weather!