Tag Archives: bags

Autumn Handbag Essentials

By Eloise for Can’t Help but Be

It would be very easy to say that  Summer has gone Autumn has arrived, but it if you live in the UK you will know that we never really got a Summer and this could in fact be a useful post for year round. However, the weather has definitely taken a change over the last few weeks and Winter is well on its way. With the crisp leaves on the ground, the nights drawing in and the inevitable rain and wind, we at Can’t Help But Be want to share with you our essentials for surviving the elements in our Autumn handbag survival guide.

Love them or hate them you can’t deny that the humble brolly is a pretty important staple in the Autumn months. And you will be spoilt for choice if you are looking for a new micro mini to fit your bag this year as there are so many gorgeous ones on the high street- from our favourite designers like Lulu Guinness, to Radley and Cath Kidston, to basic block colours or even PVC- the mini umbrella has never been so fashionable. Our top tip- if the umbrella you buy doesn’t come in a hard case then get yourself a pencil case that it will fit- that way you won’t have to worry about needing to leave it dry somewhere or have a soggy purse and more importantly it won’t get left on the bus, under the desk or at the pub again!

There are so many designs available in the shops to choose from. You can go wild with prints; be it spots, daises, teapots or tartan or keep things subtle with a block colour.  Here are a few to tempt you;


This button beauty is by Radley, and whilst the £28 price tag may seem expensive, it is slim line and having been the owner of a few Radley umbrellas I can vouch for the strength- if it can survive all the rain in Wales then it must be good!


This is the unmistakable rose pattern by Cath Kidston- at £20 it’s a gorgeous addition to help lift the autumn blues and to accessorise any outfit.


And you simply couldn’t go wrong with this lightweight beauty from M&S and the best part is it’s currently reduced to just £5!

I could go on and on but then I’d steal all the fun, however I highly recommend going to www.brolliesgalore.co.uk to indulge in your brolly needs!

Hand Warmers.
Yes it may only be October but there is no harm in having one of these at the ready- especially if you have to de-ice the car in the morning or evenings! There are a wide variety of types on the market, from re-usable to one off use. The reusable ones are of course friendly to the environment and to your pocket- you simply reactivate them by boiling in a saucepan- simple. However, if you don’t fancy having to go through that then we highly recommend the Mr Men shake to activate hand warmers. These little pouches stay warm for an incredible 7 hours and with the only action needed to shake the pack to activate they couldn’t be simpler!


You will find these most high street chemists, supermarkets and online.

If you fancy a reusable one then you are bound to find a shape and colour to suit your needs.  At just £3.91 this set from Amazon will banish those frosty fingers;


These adorable VW campervans stole my heart and will be in my handbag very soon;


And as regular readers will have noticed both Laura and I have somewhat of a sweet tooth so these seemed very apt!


Both of these can be found as new arrivals on www.play.com

A true handbag essential regardless of the season! You really won’t be sorry for stocking a packet of handy tissues in your bag but don’t think you have to stick to boring white- why not go creative and let your inner fashionista out!

These Emma Bridgewater polka dot tissues are for the fashion conscious and for those who like good quality on their noses, they are a whopping £9 but then again you get what you pay for!


If you have more of a fun side then how about these cheap and cheerful Regina Looney tunes pack, at just 28p they will bring a smile to your face;


And we couldn’t leave out the market leaders whose softness we’ve all grown up with. Kleenex has a whole variety of products but we especially like the designs on these mini packs;


(Laura says she is never without a pack of these gorgeous, girly packets!)

LED Torch.
Don’t panic, we aren’t about to go all James Bond and fill your bag with gadgets and gizmos, but once you’ve had a little led torch you will wonder what an earth you did before! As the nights start to draw in and the darker evenings commence you will be so glad you have a torch attached to your keys. No more fumbling for the keyhole on the door of your car or your home, keeping you stuck out in the cold and the rain, and it’s even useful clipped to the top of your bag so you can illuminate the contents, because we all know, no matter how well organised our bags are, whatever we want/need always hides out of sight!

Head on over to www.otherlandtoys.co.uk and snap up one of these:


Not the old school variety but a mini spiral or A6 sort. Why I hear you ask? Well as much as it seems scary to think of Christmas (yes I’ve said the ‘C’ word already and it’s only October) is approaching and whilst it may be early for you to start your shopping having a little notebook on hand can be priceless. Use it to note down any little hints that people may drop, any special offers you see in store and when it comes to buying the gifts you will have a plan all laid out.

Lip Balm.
With the arrival of autumn comes the comforting warmth of central heating. But if you are in and out of the elements then make sure your lips don’t suffer the extremes by keeping them moist and gorgeous. There are so many to choose from that no matter your style you will find one to love. Tins, tubes and sticks are all excellent space savers although the sticks tend to  be the best to apply.

It’s hard to pinpoint just one product but we are loyal fans of Burts Bee’s products and they have a wonderful offer on at the moment, when you spend £25 online you get a lip balm free- perfect!


Treat yourself (you can blame us later!)

Oh how we all hate that feeling where you spend hours getting your hair just right and looking lovely only to step out the door and either be windswept or soggy within a matter of seconds.  Having a mini hairbrush in your bag is key to keeping your style in the autumnal blustery moments.

These TIGI Bed head brushes will certainly stand out in your bag and are easy to keep clean and at £4.95 from www.hair1ukonline.co.uk are a steal;


Flu Relief.
As much as we try and avoid it most of us end up with at least a sniffle of a cold and what with swine flu lurking in the background, stopping symptoms as soon as they arrive can help limit the effects. For sore throats and blocked noses we recommend both Strepsils sugar free range and their 2 in 1 product that contains menthol to soothe the sinuses and pain killers to ease your throat.

Need a bit more than a lozenge but don’t fancy pills or can’t easily get hold of a drink to swallow them, well how about keeping a sachet of Lemsip instant in your bag, make sure you read the label though!


And there are plenty of products on the market that all claim to kill the flu virus dead but the best thing you can do is simple hygiene. If you sneeze, ‘catch it, wrap it, bin it’ and of course with your super stylish tissues on hand then you will have no problems in doing so. Of course if the people around you aren’t so careful then keep a bottle of Cuticura in your bag- it’s one of the longest standing alcohol gels on the market and is trusted by health professionals. If you don’t like the scent of the original one then how about their 2 in 1 blue hand lotion, not only will you be germ free but you will get silky smooth hands in the process!

We’d love to hear from you if you keep anything else in your handbag that you couldn’t survive the autumn without so please do get in touch!


Bags of Style; save the planet and look good doing it.

By Laura and Eloise

Reusable bags have been on the fashion radar for some time now. Ever since Anya Hindmarch launched her famous “I am not a plastic bag” it’s become cool to be green.
It shouldn’t just be about fashion and looking good though, we should all make the effort to say no to plastic bags and reuse the ones we can’t avoid taking.

 The Less Plastic Bags Campaign by the National Environment Agency (NEA) explains what we can do to reduce the use of plastic:

  • Always take or ask for just enough plastic bags to carry purchases and no more.
  • Better still, buy reusable (available at major supermarkets at low prices) and use them during shopping trips.
  • Remember to bring your reusable bags when you go shopping.
  • Say ‘No’ to plastic bags when buying only a few small items.
  • Say ‘No’ to plastic bags when the items are packaged with handles (e.g. toilet rolls, rice packet, etc).
  • When you need to have the plastic bag, save it for the next trip or use them as waste bin liners.
  • When using a plastic bag as waste liner, fully fill the bag before throwing it away wherever possible.
  • Do not throw away excess plastic bags as a trash/waste item. Reuse or recycle them.
  • Encourage your family members, relatives, friends and colleagues to do the same.

(from www.app.nea.gov.sg). This site is actual aimed at Singapore, but the statistics and advice given are applicable to everyone world wide.

There are many benefits to investing in some reusable bags (whether they are cotton, hemp, canvas etc). For starters they are far stronger than a typical supermarket carrier bag and you can carry more in them with a better weight distribution. They can usually also be carried on the shoulder which makes transporting shopping easier, and once you’ve bought a few, with regular washing they will last for years.

Both myself and Eloise feel strongly about reducing the amount of plastic bags we use, so we’re bringing you the Can’t Help but Be top picks of stylish reusable bags.


First up is this bag from Oxfam Online’s ethical department. At £9.99 it also benefits the charity’s work with school girls in Bangladesh. It’s roomy size is perfect for all kinds of shopping, from your usual grocery run to major shoe splurges.

Next up is this Cath Kidston for Tesco shopper. These are a bargain at £3.50 and come in several pretty designs. I have two of these and can find them indispensable for carting my uniform too and from work, as well as my post shift magazine haul!


One of Eloise’s favourites (and her Sister’s!) is from Accessorize. A little price at £20 (although currently on sale for £14). Eloise says this is a must have for the serious shopper as it can withstand massive workloads, bottles of water AND pet food.


Another high street buy is this cotton canvas La-Z Girl side pocket bag from American Apparel. It costs £18 and has the added benefit of a zipper pocket, ideal for storing your wallet or keys. It comes in a choice of eight colours and expands for maximum shopping hold-age.

Finally, both of us decided that we cannot now imagine life without these old faithfuls. The Boots gorgeous shopper bag has a vivid pink lining and is made of the softest cotton with strong rope handles. It’s super comfortable to carry no matter how much you fill it, and right now it’s on offer in Boots for just £2, with the profits split three ways between Breast Cancer Care, The Eve Appeal and Action Breast Cancer.


We also both love the iconic M&S bags featuring models such as Twiggy. Priced at just £2 these look chic and are unbeatable value. Marks and Spencer was one of the first shops to start charging for it’s plastic carrier bags and as a result has an incredibly impressive array of reusable bags for sale in their stores.


We’d love to know what you think about reusable shopping bags. Do you have any favourites, or perhaps you make your own?

Feel free to share your stories, or any hints and tips with us, either leaving a comment on this post, or by e-mailing us.