STRAW HATS: NOT JUST FOR SUMMER

IMG_9206

Over the years, my one consistent travelling companion has been a straw hat.  Actually even as I wrote that, I knew I was lying.  The hubby, camera, denim shorts, sun cream; never go anywhere without those either.  Ok, start again.  Over the years, I have come to realise that my packing is incomplete without my straw hat.

My taste fluctuates in terms of the style of said hat (it all started with a hideous straw cowboy hat circa 2000) but all the same, a trip to the sun is never complete without one. Why? a straw hat does a great job of hiding the tangled mess of holiday hair, it elevates any beach outfit to something a little more chic and to be honest, with pale British skin, it becomes rather an essential in the sun.  Oh, and not forgetting the fact that half the fun of travelling is trying to safeguard the shape and integrity of a rather large summer hat on a cramped flight.  You will see from the photo above that I failed miserably on this last point on the way to Greece.

Why am I bringing this up now that summer holidays are but a distant dream and all thoughts have turned to cashmere and log fires?   I recently spotted some really great straw hat options on LA based brand Janessa Leone‘s website.  Not only are they beyond beautiful but I love the Autumnal styling.  No longer limiting myself to summer, I am now embracing the straw hat year round.  It has been pointed out to me that straw and rain are probably not the best combination, but presumably that it why umbrellas were invented?

T.Bags blog- Janessa Leone Straw hats

T.Bags blog- Janessa Leone Straw hats

T.Bags blog- Janessa Leone Straw hats

T.Bags blog- Janessa Leone Straw hats

t.bags blog- Janessa Leone hats

Top photo: Roland Bagnall, All hats and other images from Janessa Leone

PLAS DINAM – A WEEKEND IN WALES

Last weekend 30 friends made the looonnnnnggg journey to Wales to celebrate a 30th birthday.  We were headed to Plas Dinam, a large manor house known locally as The Big House (you have to love the Welsh for their imagination).  I spent a large proportion of the weekend searching for people in the maze of endless rooms and on at least one occasion had to resort to ringing the hub to find out where he was – the billiards room as it turns out.  We spent an idyllic weekend going for long walks, getting to grips with the pizza oven, playing croquet, billiards and forty forty.  It was basically like a scene out of Downton Abbey, only with significantly more alcohol and brightly coloured Licra*.

T.bags blog- Plas Dinam, Wales

T.bags blog- Plas Dinam wall detail T.Bags blog- Plas Dinam

T.Bags Blog- Plas Dinam

T.Bags Blog- Plas DinamT.Bags blog- Plas Dinam

T.Bags blog- Plas Dinam T.Bags blog- Plas Dinam

T.Bags blog- plas dinam

* I mentioned brightly coloured Licra.  Well, it seems a shame to blog about this weekend and not mention the Superhero Convention that took place on Saturday night.  I know, totally normal for a large group of successful, well adjusted 30 yr olds to do on a Saturday evening in Wales.  Here it is- the official club photo from the 2014 Annual Superhero Convention.  Please don’t judge.

P1020966

MOMENTS FROM INDIA

People often ask me what I love most about India.  It is a difficult question to answer.  I remember on one trip to Jaipur, we suddenly spotted what looked like huge colourful buildings in the distance.  As we got closer, we realised that we were looking at enormous lengths of freshly dyed fabric drying in the sun.  I remember looking at these incredibly tall ribbons of colour slowly rippling in the breeze. The sun was streaming through their folds and children were playing hide and seek amongst them whilst cows stood idly chilling near by.  That’s when I knew exactly what I love most about India.

IMG_3323

IMG_3382

IMG_3326

IMG_3328

 

Photos by me.

PARIS, JE T’AIME

T.Bags in Paris

I hate surprises.  Mainly because I hate feeling that I am not prepared, in wardrobe terms, for what awaits me.  It therefore takes a brave man to be willing to face my wrath and plan a surprise birthday weekend away.  My incessant pleas for him to tell me where we were going and panicked cries of, “but what do I pack?” fell on deaf ears (although he later admitted that he almost cancelled the whole thing because I was being such a pain). The trip wasn’t the only surprise up his sleeve.  It was only at St Pancras station when a group of crazy people leapt out from behind broadsheet newspapers (cue heart attack) that I realised that that morning, I was a) heading to gay Paree and b) that I would be doing so in some seriously good company.

 We stayed just outside Paris in serious style at Le Loft d’Isabelle, an  enormous New York style loft sleeping  up to 12 people.  By day, under cornflower blue skies we mooched, sight-saw and filled ourselves with baguette and vin rouge in the glorious September sunshine.  By night,we gorged on traditional French cuisine at Chez Grenouille  recommended to us by some French friends and I got to re-live my student days at Favela Chic, the best Brazilian bump and grind bar I have been to outside Brazil.  In short, we spent 4 days living la bonne vie as our French neighbours would say.

So, am I now an advocate of the surprise?  Almost.  I loved everything about that weekend except what I was wearing.  I was convinced that I was heading to the Isle of White (long story) for the weekend so I had a bag full of knits and jackets designed to keep me warm on a wind swept British coast.  I was therefore woefully unprepared for  4 days of blazing September sunshine in one of the world’s most stylish city’s.  If only I had known I was going to Paris, here’s what I would have packed…

T.bags blog-  A weekend in Paris

 1. How to be a Parisian by Caroline de Maigret and friends.  Full of witty top tips and a must read for any girl heading to Paris.

2. Play by Comme des Garcons Stripe Breton Top because you’re in France and all the French wear stripes, non?

3. White converse high tops.  Perfect for long days of sightseeing.  These, incidentally appeared in my Isle of White packing too, phew.

4. Chanel Rouge Allure lip colour because there is nothing more glamourous than bright red lips in Paris.  Also it is the only thing from Chanel that I can afford.

5.Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1.  The perfect camera for taking good quality pics of photogenic Paris and for capturing the fun filled evening shenanigans.

6. And London Pony cross shoulder bag is both practical and super chic.  I love the contrast between the blue suede and jet black pony.

7. This Coast, Iridesa midi skirt is dramatic, elegant and a complete showstopper which is exactly what you want to be wearing standing under a sparkling Eifel Tower at midnight.  Particularly when paired with 8.

8. The “Am I French Yet” Tee from British Brand Etre Cecile x The Man repeller.  It tones down the red carpet glamour of the Coast skirt and adds a bit of laid back edginess that us British girls are known for.  Plus it’s a winner with some skinny jeans and a leather jacket.

24 hrs in Bath

24 hours in Bath

A couple of weeks ago I jumped on the train to join the hubby on his business trip to Bath (not I might add, to the knowledge of his boss).  It wasn’t just the prospect of a mini-break in Bath that compelled me to break the rules, I wanted to be there to celebrate the day he turned the big 3-0.  I know, I am a dedicated wife. So what did I get up to on my mid-week, whistle stop tour of Bath spent mainly by myself?

We ate: THE PORTER- www.theporter.co.uk

Is it wrong to admit that I chose this restaurant based on its name??  Not a good start but as it turns out, dinner at Clayton’s Kitchen (the restaurant of The Porter) was delicious and good value.  I was concerned on entering that it might be all style and no substance (the interior decor is very urban chic) but I was absolutely proved wrong.

We stayed: VILLA MAGDALA- www.villamagdala.co.uk

A fab, boutique bed and breakfast in a great location.   I got particularly excited by the staircase but was less impressed by our room which was minute.  To be fair to Villa Magdala, they did warn us that the room was small and it was perfectly comfortable and clean.  Plus the tiled bathroom floor even warranted a foot selfie. (See here)

We visited: THE ROMAN BATHS (well, you have to).  Well worth it particularly with the audio tour. www.romanbaths.co.uk

THE YELLOW SHOP (74 Walcot St, Bath, Avon BA1 5BD).  I stumbled across this little gem of a vintage shop completely by accident but would recommend seeking it out for great leather bags, fedoras and mexican embroidered tops.

SOCIETY CAFE-  www.society-cafe.com. I only wish this place was my local.  Great coffee, funky decor, lively atmosphere, cool staff.

bath

CONSTABLE COUNTRY

It is no secret that the British weather is generally a bit rubbish and although the sun tried, our last weekend of August had a distinctly Autumnal feel.  But what we lack in sunshine, we sure make up for in idyllic countryside.  The below were taken at Flatford Mill which may be recognisable to the more arty amongst you as it features in many of John Constable’s paintings.

Tiff Bagnall

Tiff Bagnall

Tiff Bagnall
Tiff Bagnall

Tiff Bagnall

Tiff Bagnall

Tiff Bagnall
Tiff Bagnall

Photos by me.


INTO THE WILDERNESS

A recent weekend spent in the wilds of Oxfordshire at the incredibly picturesque Wilderness Festival.  Wilderness is what one might call a boutique festival.  It is big on food, fantasy and fun.  You can start your day with a refreshing dip in the lake, fill up on music, lectures, feasts and general festival absurdity before heading to the valley of doom as night falls.  To put the festival firmly on the map, this year Cara Delevingne and Mulberry hosted a picnic to mark the launch of her bag collection at the festival.  Huge excitement all round.

Tiff Bagnall

Tiff Bagnall

Tiff Bagnall{ Leila K Dress by Rough Rugs.  Available www.andlondonuk.com}

Tiff Bagnall

Tiff Bagnall

Tiff Bagnall

Tiff Bagnall

Tiff Bagnall

Tiff Bagnall

Tiff Bagnall

Tiff Bagnall

Tiff Bagnall

{Photo courtesy of elleuk.com.  Dress- Kate Moss for Topshop, Sunglasses- Ross and Brown at www.andlondonuk.com}

Find out more about Wilderness here.