How I Lost 5 Stone – Weight Loss Story & Journey

In early 2014, an event triggered a change in my life that I never thought would happen. After a very sad family funeral, my mother and I were in our dingy hotel room in London when she turned to me and said she loved me, but she was fearing for my health.

It was at that point I knew I had to change. I had to lose weight.

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How To Pass Your Driving Test – Tips from A Brand New (Nervous) Driver.

In the world of being a young person, there are some pretty big milestones to hit. Passing exams, going to University and getting your first “real” job are just a few examples. But one of the most nerve-wracking things to do (in my mind) is learning to drive.

I live in rural Cornwall. And unless you’ve ever spent some time living or holiday-ing in Cornwall, you won’t know that public transport here is slow, expensive and infrequent. A hour drive to somewhere like Newquay(for example) , can take hours on the bus and train. And there are some places that are virtually inaccessible to get too unless you drive.

So at the age of 23, I decided that enough was enough and I was going to learn to drive. And just under a year later, here I am, a week into solo driving with my test passed. So I thought that as I’m so new at driving, it would be a good time to offer my tips for any wannabe drivers out there.

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Getting an item fixed at Louis Vuitton – My UK 2018 Experience

A few months ago, I travelled up to London for my birthday week. This was a celebratory holiday. My boyfriend and I were going to see Hamilton, I was turning 24 and we were just going to enjoy a week away together. But there was something else to go up for.

I had noticed that in the 14 months or so since I bought my Damier Ebene handbag from Louis Vuitton online, the straps had begun to crack. Naturally, I was beginning to panic. I had paid over £800 for this bag, and it had just turned one! So why were the straps doing this?

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July Favourites – Fashion, Media and Beauty.

So we’re halfway through July, and I decided I wanted to do something a little different this week. I’ve decided to start a ‘Monthly Favourites’ tag for my website. This is something I’ve seen on a fair few YouTubers and bloggers site, so I thought ‘Why not?’

I’ll be going down fashion pieces, beauty, media and then books (of course) so if you want to find out more about me, carry on reading!

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Louis Vuitton Mini Pochette Accessoires – First Impressions and Review.

I think that with all my reviews of this brand, the fact I love Louis Vuitton isn’t a particularly surprising thing. So when I went up to London a couple of months ago, I decided to treat myself and go into New Bond Street Store to buy myself a new little goodie.

It was part of my 24th birthday celebration, and I had some business to attend to whilst in the London flagship store (a post about that will be coming soon). So, 3 months in, and what are my thoughts on this very popular accessory? Have a read, and I’ll tell you.

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Chanel Jumbo Classic Flap (Caviar Leather with Silver Hardware) – Handbag Review

Following my Vestiaire Collective blog post, you all know that I bought my first Chanel bag off this very reputable pre-owned site. And after buying it on Sunday, I receive the bag in the post on Thursday the following week and have never looked back.

This was in September, and now as it’s coming up to the sixth-month anniversary, I thought it was high time to do this overdue review.

So here’s my review on carrying around and using the Chanel Jumbo in Caviar Leather.

The Bag itself.

When I received the bag, it came with a Chanel box and dustbag.

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The seller didn’t include the authenticity card (which, for resellers who buy and sell bags as a living, this would be a bit of an issue, but for me, I wasn’t fussed.) The bag was very well packaged, and I was beyond thrilled.

The first thing I noticed when I picked it up was how heavy the Double Flap is. At around 3lbs (1.3kg) empty, this is a weighty bag. I mean, even the straps weigh a fair bit. I’ve heard that the Single Flap comes in just under 2lbs in weight, but I can’t really comment as I’ve never felt the difference. But when my Jumbo goes against my Speedy and Neverfull empty, this is by far the heaviest bag I own.

As I bought mine pre-owned, I expected there to be some cosmetic damage. But I was pleasantly surprised how little it had wear and tear. The exterior of the bag looked so clean, and it was only on the red interior that you could see some scratching. So for the price I paid – I’ll answer this in private messaging, as it was quite a bit and I don’t want to shock any readers – I was really pleased.

What can it hold?

Surprisingly, a fair bit. But I have had to cut down on some aspects of my day-to-day bits and bobs if I want to take this bag out.

As it stands, my Jumbo can carry:

  • A Kindle Paperwhite with Leather case
  • An iPhone 6s (in case)
  • An iPod with in-ear headphones.
  • Keys
  • A slim bottle of 50ml perfume
  • A pack of sunglasses in a soft case.
  • A Louis Vuitton Jeanne Wallet
  • A card case for rail-passes/bank cards
  • A lipstick.

This is the sort of stuff that I would take with me on my a day

out. Obviously, this bag could obviously fit a bit more (if you didn’t mind bulging and really filling it to capacity) or less. This would all add to the weight of the bag. As it stands with the list above, this bag does get heavy.

However, with the style of straps, it never really digs in. I usually wear it on one shoulder, with the straps doubled up, but the option is there to wear it crossbody. For me, at 5ft 6 however, the bag hits me at a strange place if I did that.

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Now, I have had to really cut down on packing my Jumbo. Usually, I carry paperbacks or hardback books wherever I go (I use public transport a lot) but I can’t with this one. The Jumbo could fit a full hardback book it in, but nothing else. I’ve also had to use in-ear headphones and cut down on my keyrings that I had attached to my keys. These are only little changes, so I don’t mind.

How the bag looks.

One word – classic. I love wearing this bag. I always get a little zing whenever I wear it out. Maybe it’s because this is my dream bag, or maybe because it just looks so understated and beautiful against any outfit, I’m not sure. But I adore it.

The Jumbo is the second to largest size, but I think it suits my height and frame well. This bag can be easily worn as a day to night bag, and thanks to the Caviar Leather, it’s fairly durable.

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As I’ve said before, I don’t baby my bags. However, I always do endeavour to keep them out of harm’s way. They have been insured and live on their own special shelf in my room in dust bags, so they are kept pretty safe when I’m not wearing them. During my time of wearing my Jumbo outside, I haven’t noticed any scuffs at all. The pebbled caviar leather does live up to its expectation of being resilient, so I’m very pleased about that.

In the UK, we’ve also been subjected to some fairly heavy rain and snow of late, and obviously, I try not to take my Jumbo out when there’s a downpour (I usually take my lovely little Speedy for times like those) but when I’ve been caught unawares, the bag has never become waterlogged or damaged any of my electronic goods inside.

Drawbacks

For me, the only drawback has been the size of the bag. I don’t mind having to reconfigure everything in my bag to suit the Jumbo, but when I need to swap things out – for example swapping my work Neverfull tote into my Jumbo – this becomes a little bit of an issue. I can’t fit in my lunchbox into my Jumbo, nor my water bottle.

I am also very conscious about how expensive it is, and how much of a target it is for bag thievery. This always plays on the back of my mind whenever I take it out for dinner with my boyfriend or a day of shopping with my friends. I feel extra cautious about it. However, I have done all I can do – with getting it insured against loss and being stolen, and being extra diligent when I take it out – but the fear is always there.

For someone who carries around a heavy bag day-to-day, the weight is something that really doesn’t bother me. This would surprise a lot of people I’m sure.

I know that my next Chanel bag would be a Medium-Large in the Lambskin and Gold hardware, as this would become my really special night out bag, but my Jumbo – with its beauty and resilience will always give me that little zing of sensation whenever I casually wear it.

 

 

 

 

 

My Experiences Buying on the Vestiaire Collective – Chanel Jumbo.

Feature Image Credit – JacquardFlower

As I stated in my Introductory Chanel blog post, I decided to go down the less traditional route of buying my first ever Chanel bag and go via the preloved market. This blog post will be my experiences with this, along with pitfalls that you, as a reader, may experience.

What is the Preloved Designer Market?

As simple as the title says, its a specialised market for the reselling of designer goods. Along with other big names like Fashionphile and Rewind Vintage, Vestiaire Collective has been named the leading online retailer in this industry.

What brands like Vestiaire and Fashionphile do is they have a very rigorous quality checking system so that you, as the consumer, can be sure that your bag/designer good is authentic and you’re not being sold fake or replica items. As you’re paying upwards of hundreds of pounds – going into tens of thousands in regards to brands like Hermes and Chanel – you want to know that you aren’t being tricked. Sites like ebay don’t simply offer this protection for you as a consumer.

 

 

The preloved market can also be the place to get hard-to-find pieces that you can’t find in boutiques or online retailers like Selfridges or Nordstrum. This could be due to the fact that the piece in question is either limited edition or that it’s no longer in production.

The preloved market also is known to sell items for a cheaper price – just due to the fact they are second hand. For example, a Louis Vuitton Neverfull GM on the official LV website goes for £965 (March 2018 price) whereas, on the Vestiaire Collective app, there’s currently a second-hand version going for £561. (This is a very well-worn bag with some interior marks so that wear-and-tear does bring the price down)

All in all, the online preloved market is something to look at, especially when buying an expensive bag.

Why I bought my Chanel Jumbo Online?

As shown, there are a lot of positive for the world of online shopping. And when I decided to buy my first Chanel Bag, it came down to the fact that:

  • I couldn’t get to London to buy a Chanel bag in person – Chanel don’t offer online shopping for their bags and I live about 6 hours from London on the train.
  • I didn’t want to spend all my money on buying one bag when I could have my dream bag, and have some savings.
  • I was curious about the online market – and heard good reviews about buying on the Vestiaire Collective.

My Buying Process.

As I said in my previous post, I spent such a long time deciding what bag I wanted. After finally deciding upon a Jumbo in Cavier with Silver Hardware, I took the website and my app and spent about a week avidly scouring the Chanel section of the website.

Top Tip I used – Having alerts pinged straight from my phone every day helped me immensely. I had ‘Chanel Classic Flap’ ‘Chanel Jumbo’ and ‘Chanel Bag’ sent to me every time something like that was uploaded to the website, so I felt that I could have one of the first viewings on the item before somebody else.

Sometimes you can get bogged down when you are going through the site. There is so much to look at and read, but what I found that you need to look at are:

Handy Pointers to Look For

The seller – Having them registered as a Trusted Profile is good when it comes to buying from them. You know they’ve got a good history with selling (such as their products go through quality control, they respond well to comments etc)

The description – Sometimes these descriptions have to be read a few times, as the image they supply with it may not match up with the description e.g colours/hardware. Another thing to note is if they supply dimensions of the bag. For me, when I was finding out my Chanel Jumbo – I didn’t want to get fooled into buying a Medium Large for Jumbo prices. Make sure you know the dimensions of your desired bag beforehand.

The seller’s location – For me living in the UK, I found this to be indispensable as getting something sent over from say the US, to France (where the Vestiaire Collective is based) to get authenticated and then sent to you can incur a lot of tax/custom charges. I remember looking at a Chanel Jumbo from the US, and for me to get it – the taxes would be an extra £500 on top of the price. That was insane. So, I recommend you either buy it from your own country or one that wouldn’t incur a lot of shipping.

The comment section – A lot of questions that you may have may have been already answered. Especially when it comes to what the items are shipped with.

The condition – I bought my Chanel in ‘Very Good Condition’ and when I do my full review, I shall remark on what was sent to me. But this can help when it comes to your decision making. As buying these things online, you’ve got to trust the seller as pictures can only show so much.

Whether it’s Ready to Ship – A very handy little detail if you’re not wanting to wait for it to be authenticated. These items already have been checked over and can be sent straight out to you.

Back to My Story

So after picking my bag, I paid for it and awaited shipping. Obviously, the seller is alerted to the fact that I paid for it, but it isn’t a factory line of processing. You as the buyer have to wait for the seller to ship it out. However, the Vestiaire Collective do send reminders out and if you don’t get your goods sent to the Vestiaire Collective within 30 days, you do get a refund.

I was lucky and bought mine on a Sunday, and by the Tuesday it had been received by the Vestiaire Collective for Quality Control.

Now comes the nerve-wracking bit. Waiting for authentication. I was very lucky and go my bag authenticated the day it arrived and it was sent out the very same day. However, every order is different and waiting times/shipping times can be up to a week (I’ve heard).

I had my shipped to me via DHL and given a tracking number so I could watch every stage of it being sent out. I finally received my bag on the Thursday afternoon, and was incredibly impressed by the speed. The bag was shipped in a Chanel box (supplied by the shipper) with a Vestiaire Collective leaflet/receipt and returns policy. Attached to the bag was also a Quality Control tag showing who had checked it over/what date and with a stamp. I’ve kept this in the bag, as I found it a very interesting addition.

My Verdict?

All in all, my experience with buying my first Chanel bag from the Vestiaire Collective was a very positive experience. I didn’t have to wait long, or have any massive hiccups during the buying process (unlike when I bought from Louis Vuitton). But as I’ve heard both good/bad reviews of this brand, I’m curious to see what you thought of it? Let me know.

My next Chanel inspired post will be my four month review on the bag, and I’ll be getting into all the nitty-gritty parts for any curious readers.

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Buying my First Chanel Bag – Part 1 -Introductory Blog Post

This is going to be my most pricey review yet. Buying and owning a piece of Chanel is such an investment, and if you’re like me, and you like beautiful, hard-wearing handbags, you’ll appreciate this review. I hope this will be a handy guide for whoever wants to decide what size/what leather and what hardware to buy when you pick out your first Chanel.

My Buying Story

I was very lucky when it came to buying my bag. I was gifted some money by my grandparents, and instead of saving it (I knew that I’d waste it on random stuff over a few years) I decided that this was a sign to buy a piece of Chanel. IMG_4887

Before you criticise, please refer back to my other designer bag pieces (Speedy, Neverfull, Wallet, Le Pliage) and see that I’m not just buying this bag because I could. Each one of my bags I adore and use on a regular basis, and apart from a hardy backpack I use for travelling long distances, I don’t actually own any other bags.

So I knew that to help top off my collection, I needed a good day-to-night bag that screams sophistication and class. And for me, that’s a Chanel classic flap bag.

But instead of buying it through the Chanel boutique, I decided to try out the pre-owned market. There will be My Experiences with Shopping on the Vestiaire Collective post coming up so stay tuned.

I had watched various YouTubers use and shop on pre-owned sites (videos that helped me):

Chase Amie’s video on buying pre-loved Chanel Bags

Lydia Elise Millen buying from the Vestiaire Collective

Jerusha Couture on her Fashionphile Collection

So I was confident that buying from Vestiaire Collective would be a great way to find high quality, authentic designer bags for good deals. I know that there have been some negative points made about shopping on Vestiaire, but during my one purchase there, I didn’t experience anything like this.

Questions to Ask

Deciding Which Bag.

This may sound obvious to the reader here. ‘Just buy a Chanel bag, they all look the same’.

Yeah it wasn’t that simple.

For me, buying a Chanel bag goes between two styles. The 2.55 Reissue Bag and the Classic Flap. I love the Boy Bag, but it just wasn’t for me as my first Chanel bag. I wanted to go classic.

With the Classic Flap, you have the interlocking CC’s for the lock, with the siluotte of the 2.55 bag, and with the Reissue 2.55, this is slightly different look and style.

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Image Credit – Designer-Vintage

 

I decided to go for the Classic Flap. I love the Reissue and would definitely purchase it in the future, but for my first one, I knew that I wanted the real classic look.

The second question I asked was, ‘What size should I go’.

Now this one really took a while to answer. I knew I was going to have to go for Medium or Jumbo (for my first investment piece, I couldn’t go Small) but as I never saw a side-by-side comparison in real life, I had to rely on YouTube once more to guide me.

Videos I found useful during this time:

What’s in my Bag – Alexis AKA MissTrenchcoat

Carol Summers – Jumbo vs Maxi

Chase Amie – Ultimate Chanel Guide

And after a lot of debating, I decided upon a Jumbo. The Medium Large was a close contender but I didn’t want to ever regret buying it when I couldn’t fit things in. I know that one day I’ll end up buying a Medium Large (probably in another type of leather – more about this further down)  but I really had to take time over my decision.

If anybody’s interested, sizing can be found on Chase Amie’s blog.

(If any readers have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!)

 

 Leathers

So, here I am. Decision has been made. I’m going to buy a Chanel Jumbo. I know it’s going to be in black, as I wear a lot of dark colours and it’ll just go. But now, I have to think. What leather? And what colour hardware?

Through my studies, Chanel Jumbos usually come in either Lambskin or Caviar leather. More exotic materials can be found on pricier models, but I knew that would be far out of my league.

So what’s the difference?

Lambskin is known to be the more luxurious type of leather. One that needs to be treated with just a little more TLC. Lambskin feels a lot richer to the touch, and is highly coveted for people who collect Chanel seriously. Smaller bags – like evening bags/special occasion bags look better in lambskin.

Caviar Leather is a lot more durable and can hold up to the daily bumping/scratching that can happen to your bags. It is worth to note that Caviar can look a lot nicer on bigger bags, just due to the surface area. Caviar is also preferrable on bags worn cross body. With its pebbled texture, Caviar bags can feel a little younger than its lambskin counterparts.

So for me, it was really a no-brainer. I’m not particularly babyish about my bags, so I decided upon a Caviar Leather. I knew I would be using it as a going out bag as well as a day bag, so I wanted to give it a fighting chance.

Videos I found useful during this decision making:

HappyPursuits – 20 Key Considerations between Lambskin and Caviar

Mel in Melbourne – Lambskin vs Caviar Scratch Test

Hardware?

Once again, this was a pretty tough decision. For me, Chanel looks its best in gold hardward. Gold and black really screams out C in class for Chanel in my mind, but I had to be serious about it. I wear very little gold jewellery, or have warmer shades of clothing. I’m far more a silver person. I also love the muted style of a Chanel Jumbo with silver hardware. It looks a little less showy-off than its gold version sibling. Chanel’s gold hardware is also a very yellowy gold, so you’ve got to bear that in mind.

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Image Credit: Lollipuff

Single or Double Flap

On the resell market, the Chanel Single Flap is quite a big deal. A lot of people prefer the single flap to the double due to it being lighter, roomier and now harder to find due to it only available on the resell market.

The double flap is know to be a lot heavier yet has the added advantage of being more secure. They are also known for holding their shape a lot better.

When I bought my bag, the decision between single and double flaps didn’t really cross my mind. It was only afterwards that I found out about the advantages of a single flap, but I don’t regret my decision in the slightest.

A video that explains this further is here

My Final Decision

So, here I was. I had made my decision.

A Chanel Jumbo Double Flap in Caviar Leather with Silver Hardware.

I couldn’t wait to buy it and try it on.

Please come back for my second installment which includes my four month review of this bag.

How I got a FREE piece of Louis Vuitton Luggage.

First things first — this is a completely true story. I’m not sure how, or why I was lucky enough to get this, but I did. So I can’t say this is a foolproof system or not. But this is my experience in the Nice and Florence boutiques of Louis Vuitton, and how I somehowmanaged to get a free piece of Louis Vuitton luggage.


 

Backstory

 

In May this year, my mother and I took our annual holiday together and instead of choosing a cultural city break as we normally pick, we decided to go on our first cruise. On this cruise, I knew it was the perfect time to add to my Louis Vuitton collection and had saved up enough money to buy my Jeanne Wallet (my full review on this is up on my blog here)

I found out that in our first port of call, which was Villefranche-Sur-Mer, there are direct train links to Nice, and Mother and I decided that this is where we wanted to spend the day. There was also a Louis Vuitton in Nice, and I thought to buy a French piece of Louis Vuitton on the French Riviera would be so chic.

The Nice Boutique.

 

So off we went on a day of sight-seeing. Nice was a lovely city albeit slightly overcast on the day. But we wanted to stretch our legs and walk along the famous promenade. One of our first ports of call was Louis Vuitton however, and upon entry to the Avenue de Suède boutique, we were helped by a lovely sales assistant who helped me find my exact wallet and pay for it very smoothly.

From what I gather, the Nice Louis Vuitton is over two floors and has everything from Ready-to-Wear Women’s and Men’s fashion, leather goods, perfume and books, along with a personalisation service. The shop was very clean and well-stocked, but did get very busy as downstairs can feel overwhelming if you’ve got quite a few people milling around. I didn’t venture upstairs, so I can’t comment if it goes back or out any further.

The Luggage Tag Story

 

This is the part of the story where I’ve got to mention that this cruise coincided with my birthday. And after not knowing what to get me whilst in the UK, my mother asked me if there was anything I wanted on the cruise.

And after deciding that picking an excursion on the cruise (these day trips tend to run quite pricey when they are organised by the ship itself) I also asked for a Louis Vuitton Luggage Tag. I had lusted after a luggage tag for a while after seeing a few people carrying personalised ones on their Speedy’s and thought it looked so classy against the Monogram print, and after scouring purse forums, I’ve found out that the best thing to do was just ask in the boutiques if they stocked them.

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So, my Mother and I asked the manager of the Nice boutique whether or not there was the possibility of buying a luggage tag from them. I had read that the luggage tags range from about £40-£100 (dependant on shop/source/size) and we were willing to buy one then and there.

The manager initially said no, but eventually disclosed that they may have them in tomorrow. However, as the cruise ship was departing for Italy the day after, there wasn’t a possibility that we could go back. So we explained that we would be in Florence the day after, and would have to leave it.

He then told us that we could certainly go and ask in the Florence boutique, as they may have something they could offer. My mother and I thanked him and left the Louis Vuitton boutique to enjoy the rest of the day in the South of France.

The Florence Boutique.

The next day we arrived in the beautiful city of Florence. After my birthday-present guided tour, we were allowed a few hours to grab some food and go exploring the historical streets before the coach took us back to the cruise ship.

My mother and I had a leisurely stroll around the city before making our way towards Louis Vuitton. To be honest, at this point, I didn’t care if I got anything. I didn’t want to make this whole trip about ‘Alice hitting up every Louis  Vuitton she comes across’. This was going to be our last shot.

Unlike in Nice, where I was carrying my Speedy and looking all glam, I had dressed down for the hot Italian weather and wasn’t every carrying my new wallet. (I like getting insurance on them before taking them out anywhere).

But we walked into Piazza degli Strozzi boutique like we owned the entire company. We, first of all, talked to a very helpful sales assistant who, after listening to our query, got the store manager. The manager was incredibly helpful and told us to wait a few minutes. He disappeared out the back, and after about ten minutes of us walking around the shop, he came back and led us upstairs. We were given water before sitting down with us and saying that he had luggage tags, and wanted to know would I like them personalised.

At this point I was stunned. I assumed that we wouldn’t get anywhere, and my only chance of getting a luggage tag would be through buying a huge piece of luggage or suitcase in the future.

(In retrospect, I think the manager had phoned up the Nice shop to confirm who we were, and that we had, in fact, bought something from Louis Vuitton the day before).

He showed us the different size lettering and fonts etc, before taking my initials down and having them take to be hot-stamped.

The whole process took about ten minutes, and I was thrilled when it came back.

But then it came down to payment. He put the luggage tag in its own little box and bag, and when I said ‘so, where do I pay? How much for it?’ (If it was more than I was expecting, I would’ve gone half or more with Mum. I genuinely had no idea how much it would cost) but he just dismissed us and said ‘No no. Free. A gift.’

I was beyond stunned.

So, here I was. Dressed down like sweaty English tourist, and walking out of Louis Vuitton, clutching my luggage tag and not having to spend a penny that day.

And from the minute I got on the boat, the luggage tag has sat proudly on my Speedy.

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But like I said, this is my experience. One that I still can’t understand or really know why it happened that way. Is that commonplace in Louis Vuitton? Do they think I was someone special? Who knows.

If anybody has any questions/queries about this, then please don’t hesitate to let me know.