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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!


MADE- jewellery with a conscience

Written by Eloise for Can’t Help but Be

Ethical shopping has become something of a trend of late, combining the desire for good quality products with the need for our consciousness to feel better about their source. From the fair-trade coffee beans, to the sustainable sourced wood products and organically grown cotton clothes, the world does seem to have captured the trend and taken it to their hearts. But isn‘t it more expensive and unfashionable? Well if that was the case then it is no more, MADE jewellery show there is no limit to tapping into the potentials of local artisans and in turn allowing them to help themselves to a better life; and we in turn get to wear some beautiful pieces of jewellery.
MADE have many mission statements to their brand but the key message is Made by the people for the people. But this isn’t just some pull on the consciousnesses of buyers with pleas of helping the impoverished, this is a truly unique jewellery company that produces stunning pieces of jewellery. The designers are all influential, including big name celebrities. Designs are taken to East Africa where they are sourced and made by workers within the communities. In doing so local villagers get training, fair wages, and a chance to break the cycle of poverty.
Hayley Mardon; She was born in Zimbabwe and graduated from Edinburgh college of Art. Her designs clearly show her love for her African home as they are formed around strong colours and bold shapes.  Her designs include this gorgeous bangles, statement earrings and show stopper rings.
Bex Rox;b6a6ca486d8016c673770c7019015b9b This lady has a real eye for amazing creations. She grew up in Menorca and through her career she has worked for no less than CK, W Magazine and Vogue and her designs have been shown at London and Paris Fashion weeks. And what makes this even more unique? Well Bex has cleverly made the jewellery interactive as her clasp is magnetic allowing you to adapt the jewellery to your heart’s desire!
Three string bead brass necklace £40 by Bex Rox for MADE. 
And if they aren’t names you recognise how about Peaches Geldof? Daughter of active charity campaigner Sir Bob Geldof it seems that philanthropy really does run in the family with Peaches designing her own line for MADE. Her designs incorporate  a Daisy theme and are all limited edition. Priced from £15.25 they aren’t going to hang around for long, so be quick! pgdaisyc 


 Three Daisy Necklace by Peaches for MADE £25.00






So where can you get your hands on this collection?
Well, online is a great place to start as MADE not only have items on the high street but they also have a unique online collection available nowhere else. And your budget? well you can own a piece of MADE from as little as £6, or if you have a larger budget then into the £100s.



If you do fancy splashing the cash then how about this gorgeous Natalie Sergeant pendant that was designed for Whistles at £115?










And if you love that then perhaps this brass necklace that was designed by Pippa Small for Nicole Farhi may just be the one for you, it’s pricey but I think it’s worth every penny of it’s £399











If such pieces are out of your price range, do not fear. MADE jewellery can be bought for as little as £9.79 for a pair of earrings.

If you want to get up close and personal with the items and you are lucky enough to live near the following shops then why not call in and see the collections for yourself? Items are stocked at Top Shop, Nicole Farhi, House of Fraser, Whistles and a select few Independent retailers including one in Norway and one in Sweden. Also keep your eyes peeled as asos.com are also stockists of this line.
If any of these designs have captured your eye then please head on over to
www.made.co.uk  and peruse their website. You can learn about the other designers, see the full collections and read about their story. Also if you sign up to their email subscription you receive 10% off your next purchase- now what more reason could you need!



MADE clearly shows that through fashion we can not only look great but allow people to help themselves to a better future.

(all images are from www.made.uk.com)